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Also available as a printed book 

see title verso for ISBN details 

The Routledge Dictionary of Gods and 
Goddesses, Devils and Demons 

From classical Greek and Roman mythology to the gods of Eastern Europe and 
Mesopotamia; from Nordic giants to Islamic jinns and Egyptian monsters, this classic 
dictionary is packed with descriptions of the figures most worshipped and feared around 
the world and across time. Fully cross-referenced and with over 100 illustrations, it also 
features two handy appendices listing the functions and attributes shared by these 
deities and demons. 

Covering over 1800 of the most important gods and demons from around the world, 
this is the essential resource for anyone interested in comparative religion and the 
mythology of the ancient and contemporary worlds. 

Manfred Lurker was, from 1968 to 1980, editor of the Bibliography of Symbolism, 
Iconography and Mythology. He has published widely on symbolism and the history of 

The Routledge Dictionary 

of Gods and Goddesses, 

Devils and Demons 

Manfred Lurker 

Q Routledge 

S^^ Taylor &. Francis Croup 

First published in German in 1984 
as Lexicon der Cotter und Ddmonen 
by Alfred Kramer Verlag, Stuttgart 

This translation first published in 1987 
by Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd 

This reissue published 2004 

by Routledge 

1 1 New Fetter Lane, London EC4P 4EE 

Simultaneously published in the USA and Canada 

by Routledge 

29 West 35th Street, New York, NY 10001 

Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Croup 

This edition published in the Taylor & Francis e-Library, 2005. 

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© Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1987 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or 
reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, 
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Preface vi 

Note on transcription and pronunciation viii 

Dictionary of Gods and Goddesses, 

Devils and Demons 1 

Appendix I: functions, aspects, spheres of competence 210 

Appendix II: symbols, attributes, motifs 233 

Bibliography 260 


A basic element in all religions is the awareness, both intellectual and emotional, of 
man's dependence on non-human powers: powers which we conceive as personal, and 
vis-a-vis which we normally stand in a reciprocal relationship. Gods and demons are 
the forms taken by these powers, their hypostatizations, as it were, in the shape of light 
and darkness, sun and moon, fire and water, bird and snake. The divine can reveal itself 
in all the phenomena of nature, just as the demonic can. But it is not only from with- 
out that the numinous presents itself to man: it can arise spontaneously in religious 
experience as an 'exponent of feeling' (Wilamowitz-Moellendorf), and it can be 
divined as 'a dark abyss . . . which is not accessible to our reason' (Rudolf Otto). The 
images generated in the human mind are, then, representative of stages reached in 
man's understanding and in his knowledge of himself; in a certain sense, indeed, every 
divine image has traits which identify it as a self-projection of mankind. As ideal 
beings, the gods are what man would like to be; but they are also what he, in his spatio- 
temporal imperfection, cannot be. 

Every religion has its own conventions and symbols which serve to express the 
functions, the aspects and the spheres of competence of the members of its pantheon. 
And this means that the conscious and unconscious nexus of conventions specific to 
any one religion is hardly, if at all, accessible to believers in another religion, or to those 
who believe in no religion at all. Thus, even for the ancient Greeks the animal gods of 
the Egyptians were shocking and revolting. And modern man, proud as he is of his 
reason and logic, fares no better when he is called upon to recognize an authentic view 
of God in the often and - in the most literal sense - obscure rites and images of an alien 

Above all, we must not fail to recognize that the concepts 'god' and 'demon' are by 
no means evenly weighted in the various religions. The innumerable deities of 
Hinduism and Buddhism carry about as much significance as angels or saints do in 
monotheistic religions. There are mortal gods, gods who die (like Balder and Osiris) 
and demonic beings whom death cannot touch (for example, the Devas). The border- 
line between gods and demons is fluid (see Asura, or the Nymphs); and with the 
Christianization of a people, its erstwhile deities can be devalued to the status of devils 
(as in the case of Pan or Dabog) or accepted into the corpus of Christian saints (for 
example, Brigit Kondos). From the largely anonymous mass of spirits, gods and 
demons are distinguished by being more sharply and individually characterized, as 
shown, for example in the bestowal of names upon them. 

The present reference work offers a conspectus of all the more important supernat- 
ural beings who have acquired 'personality' in this sense, both in the pantheons of the 

Preface vii 

classical cultures and in the world religions of today; and the religious systems of the 
so-called 'primitive' races are also given their due place. Any attempt at an exhaustive 
survey of all the names, functions, symbols and attributes in this field was excluded 
from the outset: the mass of material is such that even several volumes could hardly 
cope with it. Heroic figures in saga and legend have been included only where this is 
justified by their subsequent deification: thus, Aeneas and Herakles are included, while 
the Celtic King Arthur and the Germanic hero Siegfried are not. The same goes for 
founders of religions, and for saints: the reader will find Buddha and Lao-zi in these 
pages, but neither Muhammad nor Zarathustra. Mythological detail has been intention- 
ally cut to a minimum. There is no entry for Christ: for various reasons, adequate treat- 
ment of this figure lies outside the scope of the present work. The reader's attention is 
directed particularly to the two appendices, in which the individual gods and demons 
are classified from various points of view. 

The illustrations serve only to lighten the text, and are not intended to be in any way 
a scientifically exact iconography. It should be borne in mind that in the case of certain 
cultures it is hardly possible to find suitable matter for illustrative purposes and that 
certain peoples and religions have a pronounced antipathy to images and representation 
of any sort. 

Manfred Lurker 
Oberkirch, May 1984 

Note on transcription and 

1 Greek and Latin English forms in general currency are used instead of their 
Greek or Latin equivalents: thus, Jupiter for Iup(p)iter, Centaurs, Nymphs, etc. 
Apart from these special cases, Greek and Latin names are taken as in the original 
German text, with changes in spelling where necessary. Head-words in the origi- 
nal text carry stress-marks based on: H. Hunger, Lexikon der griechischen und 
romischen Mythologie, 6th edn, 1969. These are retained. 

2 Sanskrit and Vedic Standard transcription is used for Sanskrit and Vedic names, 
based on Macdonell, Sanskrit-English Dictionary, OUP, 1924. The distinction 
between the dental series: t, d, n, s; the retroflex series: t, d, n, s; and the palatal 
series: c, j, fi, s, has been retained. Here, s and s are both pronounced as sh; t, d, n 
are the same sounds as are heard in English t, d, n; t, d, n are their continental 
counterparts (as in Italian); n is the Spanish n. 

3 The sh sound where it otherwise occurs - particularly in ancient Near Eastern and 
Egyptian names - is transcribed as s. This letter also represents sh in the two Baltic 
languages, Lithuanian and Latvian. In Yoruba, sh is represented by s. 

4 Chinese For Chinese names the modern pinyin romanization has been used, 
though tone marks have been disregarded; x is something like the sh in ship, q is 
like the ch in cheese; p, t, k are heavily aspirated; b, d, g are not voiced. 

5 Wherever it occurs, z is pronounced as j in French 'yournal'. 

6 In Aztec and Maya names, c before e and i = s; before a, o, u = k. 


Aatxe (Basque, 'young bull') Evil 
spirit in the shape of a bull which, the 
Basques believe, leaves its cave on stormy 
nights, and which may often assume 
human form. Under the name Etsai (i.e. 
devil) it instructs its devotees in its arts. 

Abaddon (Hebrew, 'downfall', 'ruin') 
In the Old Testament, the word refers 
to the underworld, the place of destruc- 
tion (e.g. Job 26: 2; 28: 22). In the 
Apocalypse, it means the angel of hell, 
the lord of the plague of locusts 
(Revelation 9: 7-11). Known in Greek as 
Apollyon, i.e. destroyer. 

Abat(t)ur A mythical figure of the 
Mandaeans. At the last judgment it 
weighs souls and/or their deeds. The name 
derives from Persian and is construed as 
meaning 'bearer of the scales'. 

Abel No A Gallic local deity, known 
from inscriptions in the Garonne valley. 
He has been interpreted as a god of apple- 

Abgal (Apkallu) Seven Sumerian spir- 
its deriving from the Abzu (— > Apsu) 
and subject to Enki. It is probable that 
they reflect legendary antediluvian 
kings. Some of the Abgal are conceived 
as fish-men. 

Abhiyoga Generic name of the servile 
gods in Jainism; they help the supreme 
gods (— > Indra) to create rain and 

Abora The supreme being worshipped 
by the Canary Islanders on the island of 
Palma. The god sat in heaven and caused 
the stars to move. 


(variants Abrasax, Abraxis) Occult 
theonym used in Graeco-Oriental gnosti- 
cism. In Greek values, the letters add up 
to 365, corresponding thus to the number 
of days in the year. The hebdomad of let- 
ters was associated with the seven plan- 
ets. Abraxas stones were used as amulets 
and usually show the god with the 
torso and the arms of a man, the head of 
a cock and serpent legs. In scientific liter- 
ature he is also known as Angnipede = 

Abu Sumerian god of vegetation. 
According to one tradition he was born 
from the skull of — * Enki, an image of 
the emergence of plants from the earth's 

Abundantia Roman goddess personi- 
fying abundance (abundantia). She lived 
on in the Lady Habonde (Abundia) of 

2 Acala 

French popular belief, who visits people's 
houses by night bringing prosperity. 

Acala 'The Immovable', a divinity in 
Indian Buddhism. As 'Protector of the 
Teaching' his image stands before tem- 
ples to ward off those hostile to the 
Buddhist doctrine. He has three eyes and 
six arms, and he grinds his teeth. His 
weapons include the sword, the thunder- 
bolt (Vajra), the axe and the noose. 




Acheloos Greek river-god bearing the 
same name as the river which runs into 
the Ionian Sea. The son of — > Okeanos 
and of — > Tethys. The myth tells how 
Acheloos fought the hero Herakles for 
possession of the Deinaeira, taking the 
form first of a snake, then of a bull. He 
married the muse Melpomene, and the — > 
Sirens were supposed to be his daughters. 
Under the name Achlae, Acheloos is 
attested in Etruria from the sixth century 
BC onwards, and is represented as heav- 
ily bearded and with the horns of a bull. 

Achilleus (Latin, Achilles) Hero of 
Greek legend. The young Achilleus had 
been dipped by his mother — > Thetis in 
the water of the Styx to make him invul- 
nerable, but the water did not touch the 
heel by which she held him (hence 
'Achilles' heel'). In the Trojan War he was 
slain by Paris. Achilleus was venerated as 
a hero throughout Greece. In the Black 
Sea area he had divine status, and was 
known from the Hadrian era onwards by 
the epithet Pontarchos = ruler of the sea. 

Acoran The supreme being, wor- 
shipped by the inhabitants of Gran 
Canada in the Canary Islands. Temples to 
him were erected in remote mountain 
places difficult of access, and these affor- 
ded inviolable asylum. A daily offering of 
milk was made to the god by maidens 
clad in white leather. 

(in Syria, Hadad) Babylonian god of 
weather and rain; the name is usually 
written with the cuneiform character for 
'wind'. He was thought of as son of 
the supreme god — > An. His epithets 
'Dyke-warden of Heaven' and 'Lord of 
Abundance' identify him as the beneficent 
giver. If he withholds the rains, drought 
and famine ensue. His symbolical animal 
was the bull, his sign was a cluster of 
lightning flashes. An ancient hymn 
describes how heaven and earth rise 
before the god, who is also called 
Ramman (= thunder). The illustration 
(a seal motif) shows him in a robe adorned 
with astral signs and with a tall hat deco- 
rated on top with feathers; in his hand he 
holds the pincer-shaped bolts of lightning. 

Adam(m)as The parental godhead of 
the Naassenes, a gnostic movement in 
Phrygia; conceived as a father-mother 
syzygy, the 'parents of the aeons'. 

Adam Kadmon According to the 
Kabbala (a Jewish mystical movement) the 

Adraste 3 

first man, an emanation of absolute perfec- 
tion. He is symbolized by the major axis of 
ten concentric circles, the Sephiroth or ten 
circles of creation. Thus, Adam Kadmon as 
primeval man symbolizes the universe. He 
is androgynous, and is seen in ancient 
Jewish mysticism as partaking in, or blend- 
ing with God. The Bahir book (twelfth 
century) mentions the 'seven holy forms 
of God', all of which have correspon- 
dences in the limbs of the human body. 
Man thus exhibits the mystic structure of 
the godhead. 

Adam Kasia ('the hidden Adam'), also 
known as Adam Qadmaia, 'the first 
Adam'. A god-like form postulated by 
the Mandaeans, which unites in itself 
microcosm and macrocosm. This form 
was regarded as, at one and the same 
time, the soul of the corporeal Adam and 
as the soul of every man. Adam Kasia is 
a redeemer, and is himself redeemed. Cf. 
in Jewish mysticism, — ¥ Adam Kadmon. 

Adibuddha ('primeval Buddha') The 
concept is of a — > Buddha who has 
existed from the beginning of time and 
who has created, through contempla- 
tive development of his Self, the five — > 
Dhyani-Buddhas. These are the Buddhas 
of contemplation, which then bring 
forth the five — ¥ Dhyani-Bodhisattvas, 
from which the universe arises in a 
series of self-superseding acts of creation. 
Adibuddha is thus a kind of primeval or 
original creator. His epithet is Vajradhara 
('bearer of the thunderbolt'). 

Aditi Indian goddess; her dominion is 
over the divine ordering of the world, and 
she is the mother of the — ¥ Adityas. In 
later tradition she appears as the personi- 
fication of the earth; her bosom is its 
navel. The name 'Aditi' really means 
'infinity', and the goddess is a form of the 
Great Mother who embraces all living 

and being. She is also a redeemer figure, 
as she is supposed to free those who 
believe in her from sickness, need and the 
stains of sin. 

Adityas 'Progeny of Aditi' (— > Aditi) 
A Vedic grouping of seven or eight gods; 
at its head is — > Varuna, often in associ- 
ation with — > Mitra and — ¥ Aryaman. 
Martanda, the eighth son of Aditi, is 
seen as the divine fore-father of the 
human race. Like Aditi, the Adityas were 
believed to offer salvation from all ills. 
Post-Vedic literature postulates twelve 
Adityas in the role of twelve sun-gods, 
who are in turn connected with the twelve 
months of the year. 

Adonis Originally a Phoenician-Syrian 
god (the Semitic word 'adon' means 'mas- 
ter'). He embodies vegetation scorched 
by the heat of the summer sunshine, and 
was worshipped in the mystic cults as 
a god who dies and is resurrected. 
According to Greek legend, he was born 
from a myrrh tree, into which his mother 
had been changed. He was the beautiful 
lover of — ¥ Aphrodite. When he was killed 
by a boar while hunting, the goddess 
caused the Adonis rose to spring up from 
his blood, and she was able to secure his 
release from the underworld for six 
months in the year. The seeds of the 
so-called Adonis garden grow readily in 
a bowl or a box, and their blossoming and 
rapid withering were seen as symbolizing 
the life and death of the god. Adonis was 
taken over by the Etruscans under the 
name of — ¥ Atunis. 

Adraste (or Andraste = she who is invin- 
cible) A goddess of war in ancient 
Britain, to whom Queen Boudicca (AD 61) 
had captured Roman women sacrificed. 
A parallel is found in Gaul where the 
Vicontii had a goddess of war named 

4 Adrasteia 

Adrasteia ('the inescapable') Originally 
a Trojan-Phrygian mountain divinity who 
was also worshipped in Thrace and who 
appears in Greece from about 400 BC 
onwards as the guardian of righteousness 
and the goddess who avenges all wrongs; 
connected with — > Nemesis. Whether there 
is any common Indo-Germanic connection 
with the Celtic-British — > Adraste is not 

Adro A god of the Lugbara people 
who live on the shores of Lake Albert in 
East Africa. He lives with his wives and 
children on earth, preferably in rivers, and 
he makes himself known to humans in the 
shape of whirlwinds and grass fires. The 
celestial aspect of this earthly god is 
known as Adroa, a divinity in his own 
right, who created mankind in days gone 
by, but who now lives at infinite removal 
from us. 

Aegir A north Germanic sea-giant, 
husband of — ¥ Ran. At a carousal for the 
Aesir (— > As), he had shining gold 
brought into the hall which was lit up as 
though by fire. It has been suggested that 
the gold represents the shimmering of 
tranquil seas without wind. 

Aeneas To begin with, a Greek hero 
(Greek: Aineias) in the Trojan War, the 
son of King Anchises and the goddess — > 
Aphrodite, the mother of the gods from 
Mount Ida. The saga of his flight from the 
ruins of Troy became known to the 
Romans and the Etruscans in the sixth 
century BC; and soon thereafter he him- 
self was honoured as a heros. For the 
Romans he was the embodiment of the 
old Roman virtue of pietas (piety, rever- 
ence for age and tradition) thanks to his 
having rescued his father (lamed by light- 
ning) and the holy images, and taken 
them with him on his wanderings. 
The emperor Augustus believed that his 

family was descended from the son of the 
gods, Aeneas. 

Aesculapius The god of healing — > 
Asklepios, introduced into Rome during 
a plague in 293 BC. In his capacity as all- 
healer, he became one of the most popu- 
lar gods of the early Empire. The emperor 
Marcus Aurelius had himself depicted 
as Aesculapius, bearing a caduceus as 
sceptre. In modern times the caduceus 
has become the symbol of the medical 

Aesma Daeva (aesma = madness) 
The Parsee demon of lust and anger. His 
wrath is directed mainly against the cow, 
which occupies the central place among 
the creatures. Only by — > Saosyant can he 
be finally overcome. 

Aeternitas For the Romans the person- 
ification of eternity, both of the Empire and 
of the deified emperors. Symbolically rep- 
resented by the phoenix perpetually arising 
from the ashes of its own burning, and the 
snake biting its own tail (Uroboros): both of 
these illustrating a process which has no 
beginning and no end. 

Afi God of rain and thunderstorms 
among the Abkhaz people who live in the 
western Caucasus. His name must not be 
uttered by women, who call him simply 
'the one who is above'. 

Agas (Avestan = 'evil eye') A demon 
of illness in Iranian religions: primarily 
a demon of those sins which are commit- 
ted by means of the eye. 

Agathos Daimon A good genius or 
guardian spirit in ancient Greek mythol- 
ogy. It was often imagined as a winged 
serpent which hovers invisibly round 
a man and brings good luck to his home. 

Agdistis (Agditis) A hermaphrodite 
being in Phrygian mythology. It is 

Ahriman 5 

descended from — ¥ Papas, made drunk by 
— > Dionysos, and emasculates itself on 
waking from its drunken stupor. An 
almond tree grows from its sexual organs, 
and the fruit of this tree makes the daugh- 
ter of the river-god — > Sangarios preg- 
nant. She gives birth to — > Attis. Agdistis, 
now in its female aspect as a form of the 
Great Mother (— > Kybele), falls in love 
with the beautiful youth Attis; when he is 
unfaithful to her, she makes him lose his 



Aglibol The moon-god of Palmyra 
(ancient Syria). He bears the sickle 
moon on his forehead - at a later date, on 
his shoulders. The name is sometimes 
explained as 'bull of Bol', which would 
suggest that the sickle was originally 
bull's horns. His cult spread via Greece 
to Rome. 

Agni (etymologically connected with 
Latin ignis = fire) The Vedic god of 
fire. He carries the sacrificial burnt offer- 
ing to the gods. There are two or three 
versions of his birth: on the one hand, he 
is said to be born from heaven, from the 
sun or from lightning, but then again he is 
born from an earthly source, from stone 
or from water, in which extinguished fire 
resides. As portrayed, he is reddish in hue, 
with a long beard and clothed in fire; in 
his hands he carries flames, a trident and 
a water-pot. He is said to be mounted on 
a ram or a male goat. In old texts Agni is 
described as the 'bull of the waters', that 
is to say, he makes the water pregnant: 
a symbolical reference to the cosmic 
process, in which (male) fire enters into 
(female) water. Agni is an intermediary 
between mankind and the gods, especially 
when he appears in the sacrificial fire. 

AgnostosTheos (Greek = 'the unknown 
god') It seems that altars to 'unknown 

gods' were set up in Athens. In his address 
to the men of Athens (Acts of the Apostles 
17: 23) Paul uses the singular - 'To the 
unknown god' - but this seems to be a 
monotheistic adaptation. As far as the his- 
tory of religion is concerned, there is no 
doubt that 'all gods' (Pantheon) were 
invoked and worshipped - gods who are 
not named but who are not nameless. An 
unknown or anonymous god is also 
attested in pre-Islamic Arabia, and votive 
inscriptions from Palmyra (second and 
third centuries AD) are addressed to him 
'whose name is praised for ever and ever'. 
His epithets are 'Lord of the world' and 
'the good one'. 

Ah Bolom Tzacab In scholarly litera- 
ture known also as god K or as 'the leaf- 
nosed god' because of the leaf-shaped 
ornament he wears in his nose. He was 
the Mayan god of agriculture, and was 
supposed to control rain and thunder. 

Ahone The supreme deity of Indians 
who once lived in the Virginia area. He 
was so far removed from men, so remote, 
that they did little to honour him. In this, 
he differs from — > Okeus. 

Ahriman Middle Persian and modern 
Farsi version of the Avestan name Angru 
Mainyu ('evil spirit'), the name given by 
Zarathustra to — » Ahura Mazda's adver- 
sary who counters every act of creation 
with an act of anti-creation. Ahriman is 
the embodiment of all evil; he inhabits an 
underground realm of eternal darkness, 
from which he brings smoke and black- 
ness, sickness and death into the world. 
His symbolical creature is the snake. At 
the end of time, he will subside power- 
less into darkness. In Mithraism and 
Zervanism Ahriman is venerated as a god; 
his rituals include the sacrifice of those 
animals which belong to the powers of 
evil. Cf. also — » Arimanius. 

6 Ahura Mazda 

Ahura Mazda 

Later Ormazd (old Persian = 'Lord or 
wisdom'). The name of the one true God 
preached by Zarathustra. Originally 
Ahura Mazda was conceived as ruling 
over the oppositional pair Spenta Mainyu 
and Angru Mainyu (— > Ahriman), but 
later he became conceptually identified 
with Spenta Mainyu. In the teaching of 
Zarathustra, light is made visible by 
Ahura Mazda and serves in his praise. 
Subsequently the paramount light, the 
sun, appears as the form of the god, and 
in the Avesta the sun and the moon are 
described as his eyes. Over against the 
world of truth and light which he has cre- 
ated, stands the anti-world of deception 
and darkness. By means of fire, Ahura 
Mazda can distinguish good from evil. On 
Achaemenian seals the god is depicted in 
a winged ring (the sun or the moon); 
sometimes his body projects upwards out 
of the ring. This type of representation 
was taken over from Assyria (cf. illustra- 
tion to — > Assur). 

Ahurani 'She who belongs to Ahura', 
an Old Iranian water-goddess, to whom 
people prayed for growth, insight and 
progeny. Libation formed part of the 
ritual in her honour. 

Aiakos A Greek god of the under- 
world, the son of Zeus and of Aigina. 
Because of his love of justice he was 

appointed judge of the dead. He is first 
mentioned by name in Plato. 

Ai'olos (Latin: Aeolus) The son of — > 
Poseidon; in Greek mythology, the pro- 
genitor of the Aeolians, directed by — > 
Zeus to rule the winds. It was he who 
gave Odysseus a bag containing contrary 
winds to speed the homeward journey. 

Aion (Greek = time) The word may 
refer to an age or epoch in the history of 
the world, or to the god himself who per- 
sonifies such an age. He is depicted in 
human form, entwined in serpents and 
with the head of a lion. He is often 
winged and sometimes shown standing 
in the Zodiac. He figures in the mysteries 
of Mithras, whose concept of Aion is of 
Persian origin (— » Zervan). The Lord of 
Time is also a primeval god (known as 
Aion to the Manichaeans), and he enters 
Greek thought in the shape of — > Kronos, 
which in the course of further philo- 
sophical speculation, coalesces with its 
homonym — ¥ Chronos. 

Airyaman Etymologically related to 
the Modern Persian erman = guest. The 
Old Iranian god corresponding to the 
Vedic — > Aryaman. To begin with, he was 
a sort of collective deity whose duties 
included supervision of such social bonds 
and contracts as hospitality and marriage. 

Akerbeltz 7 

He is the old Aryan god of marriage, but 
also appears in literature as a divinely 
ordained priest and doctor. At the end of 
time he will fish the souls of those tem- 
porarily damned out of hell by means of 
a net. Eschatologically he may coincide 
with — > Sraosa. 

Ai Tojon The creator of light among 
the Yakuts (in Siberia). He is conceived as 
a giant, double-headed eagle, which 
perches on the tip of the world-tree. 

Aitu In Samoa, a portmanteau word for 
the lower order of gods who are called 
Atua in the Marquesas. Included here are, 
above all, the various tutelary gods of var- 
ious families and villages, who appear in 
the shape of plants or animals. One Aitu 
known as Fe'e (= cuttlefish, squid) 
started out as a god of war but gradually 
took over the role of ruler over the king- 
dom of the dead. The Aitu often display 
demonic rather than godly characteristics. 
The word 'aitu' is also used in Maori, 
where it means not only 'deity' but also 
'sickness' or 'misery'. 

Aitvaras A Lithuanian household spirit 
which appears as a black cat or a black 
cock. When he flies in the sky he looks 
like a wavy line. He is a creature of the 
devil, which persuades the householder to 
sell his soul for a rich reward. 

Aius Locutius (Latin = the speaker) 
A Roman nonce-god who is supposed to 
have given a warning of the approach of 
the Gauls (391 BC). 

Akasagarbha ('whose origin is the 
ether') In Indian Buddhism, a — > 
Bodhisattva with the characteristics of 
a celestial deity. He holds jewels in his 
hands, and his symbol is the sun. He 
appears in the Tibetan Books of the Dead 
as Nam-mkhai snying-po, yellowish in 
colour and furnished with sword and bell 

as attributes. In Japan he is known as 
Kokuzo, and is a personification of 
supreme knowledge of the absolute void 

Akephalos This is not really a proper 
name, but rather the designation of a 
'headless' being which was regarded as 
a demon in antiquity. There were many of 
these: originally beheaded for criminal 
offences, they became ghosts or acolytes 
in magic practices. In Hellenistic 
Egyptian papyri dealing with magic, 
spells and incantations, the akephalos is 
even addressed as God; here we may per- 
haps see the influence of the myth of the 
dismembered — > Osiris. 

Aker In ancient Egyptian texts his 
name is written with the determinant for 
'Earth', and the god himself is an embod- 
iment of the earth. He is represented as 
a narrow strip of land with either a human 
or a lion's head at the ends; later, this 
becomes two lions with their backs turned 
to each other, which bear the hieroglyph 
of the rising sun. One lion looks towards 
the west where the sun sets; the other 
faces east where the sun rises again from 
the realm of darkness. The two lions and 
hence the god they represent guard the 
entrance and the exit of the underworld. 

Akerbeltz ('black billy-goat') In 
Basque popular belief, Akerbeltz is the 
representative of the god — > Mari. In 
accordance with his name he is depicted 
as a black billy-goat. People who want 
their animals to do well turn to him for 
help. In earlier times, a black billy-goat 
was kept in the farm-steading to protect 
the herd from plague and sickness. In the 
sixteenth/seventeenth centuries he was 
venerated as a god by witches and wiz- 
ards; sacrifices were made to him, and 
dance formed part of the ritual in his 

8 Akongo 

Akongo The supreme god of the 
Ngombe who live in the Congo area. As 
creator, he bears the epithet 'he who 
forms'; that is, it is he who gave the world 
its shape. 

Aksobhya ('the unshakable') One of 
the five — > Dhyani-Buddhas: probably an 
hypostasis of the historical — ¥ Gautama 
Buddha, with reference to his withstand- 
ing the (legendary) temptations of the 
satanic — > Mara. Iconographically, he is 
represented as a Buddha clothed in the 
habit of a monk, and seated on a sun. He 
is celestially orientated on the east, and in 
Tantrism the eye of the Buddha, the ele- 
ment ether and the season of winter are 
attributed to him. In Tantric iconography 
he may be given six or eight arms; 
his main attribute is the vajra, the thun- 
derbolt, and he rides on a pair of ele- 
phants. Several divinities emanate from 
Aksobhya, including — > Heruka, — > 
Jambhala, Yamari. 

Ala Earth-goddess of the Ibo people in 
East Nigeria. She represents the earth in 
its dual aspect - fecundity and death. 

Alako A god of the Norwegian gyp- 
sies. His original name was Dundra, and 
he was sent down to earth in human shape 
by his father, the great God, to reveal their 
secret law and lore to the gypsies. When 
this was accomplished he returned to his 
own realm in the moon, and has ever 
since been known as Alako. The name is 
etymologically related to the Finnish 
word alakuu = waning moon. 

Alalu The first among the heavenly 
kings according to the pantheon of the 
Hurrians who lived in North Syria in the 
second millennium BC. For nine years 
he occupied his divine throne before he 
was overthrown by Anu, the first of 
the gods. Alalu was called Hypsistos ('the 
highest') by the Greeks. 

Alardi In the popular belief of the 
Ossetians in the Central Caucasus a spirit 
who on the one hand causes smallpox 
and, on the other, protects women. In 
folksong he is given the epithet 'the 
winged one'. 

Alaunus A local Celtic name for the 
god — » Mercurius. In the Mannheim area, 
Mercurius was given the epithet Alannus; 
near Salzburg, inscriptions have been 
found giving the form 'sacrum . . . 

Albiorix ('King of the World') Epithet, 
perhaps also a specific form of the Gallic 
war-god — > Teutates. 

Alcis A divine pair of brothers in the 
belief of the East Germanic tribe of the 
Naharnavali (in Silesia?). According to 
Tacitus they were worshipped in a sacred 
grove, and they were never depicted. In 
the interpretatio romana they are identi- 
fied with the heavenly twins — > Castor 
and Pollux. The etymology of the word 
Alcis is not clear. It may be connected 
with the word alces which Caesar notes as 
meaning 'elk', and this would make the 
Alcis brothers elk or stag gods. 

Alisanos (attested also in the form 
Alisanus) A local god in Gaul, men- 
tioned in inscriptions found in the Cote 
d'Or. The place-name Alesia may well be 
connected with him. Attempts have been 
made to identify him more closely as 
a mountain-ash god, or god of rowan trees. 

Allah (Arabic, al-ilah = the God) In 
the pre-Islamic period, the supreme 
deity, creator of the earth and giver 
of water. Interpreted monotheistically by 
Muhammad as the one true God, to whom 
it is incumbent upon men to submit 
(islam = submission). Allah is totally and 
essentially different from all that he has 
created: hence the prohibition of any 

Alpan 9 

attempt to portray him. The 'beautiful 
names' of God correspond to the epithets 
which are used to paraphrase Allah in 
the Qur'an: 99 names are known (hence 
the 99 beads in the Islamic rosary) but the 
'greatest name', the name which will 
complete the hundred, is known to no 
mortal. In Islamic mysticism (Sufism) 
Allah is compared to a sun which sends 
forth its rays; his throne is a sign of his 
omnipotence and of his remoteness from 
his creation. Since graphical representa- 
tion of Allah is forbidden, it is only in cal- 
ligraphy that he can be spiritually 

Allat ('the goddess') Venerated in 
Central and North Arabia in pre-Islamic 
times. Herodotus records the Semitic 
name in the form Alilat. She was particu- 
larly revered in Ta'if where an idol to her, 
a white granite block, stood. She was sup- 
posed to be one of the three daughters of 
—> Allah, and was associated with the 
planet Venus. Certain texts also seem to 
point to a solar connection. 



Almaqah Moon-god and tutelary god 
of the South Arabian kingdom of Saba. 
Members of the tribe of Saba called them- 
selves 'the children of Almaqah'. He is 

symbolized by a cluster of lightning 
flashes and a weapon which looks like 
a slightly bent capital S. His symbolical 
animal is the bull, and in some texts he is 
referred to as 'Lord of the horned goats'. 

Aloades In Greek mythology the giant 
sons of Aloeus (or of — > Poseidon) named 
Otos and Ephialtes. In their fight against 
the gods they try to storm Olympus; and 
they bind the god of war — > Ares fast and 
hold him captive for 13 months. When — > 
Artemis throws herself between them in 
the shape of a hind, they kill themselves 
in their blind lust to hunt down the quarry. 
It is possible that the Aloades were pre- 
Hellenic gods, who were casualties in the 
struggle surrounding the introduction of 
the new religion of Zeus. 

Alp (Alb) Old Norse alfr. The original 
designation of the mythical — > Elben. In 
Germanic mythology, the Albs were 
unearthly beings, half god half dwarf: and 
here we may recall Alberich, the king of 
the dwarfs in the Nibelungensage, famed 
for his Tarnkappe which conferred invisi- 
bility, and the magic belt that gave him 
strength. In later years, the Albs came 
to be known as demonic beings which 
caused sickness and nightmares. In popu- 
lar superstition the nightmare - a terrify- 
ing experience during sleep, followed by 
an equally terrifying awakening - is 
explained as induced by a threatening 
demon (— > Incubus, —¥ Succubus). In 
Bavaria and Austria, the evil female 
demons known as Druden take the place 
of the Albs. 

Alpan (also Alpanu, Alpnu) An 
Etruscan goddess, variously portrayed as 
winged or unwinged, belonging to the 
female demons known as — > Lasas. She 
is naked except for a cloak which 
hardly conceals her body, she is richly 
bejewelled and wears light sandals. The 

10 Amaethon 

evidence strongly suggests that she was 
a goddess of the art of love, but she also 
possesses traits that mark her as a goddess 
of the underworld. 

Amaethon A Celtic god of agriculture 
in Wales, revered as the great ploughman. 
He belongs to the Welsh family of gods of 
the Don. 

Amaltheia (in Latin Amalthea) A 
nymph or, in other versions of the story, 
a she-goat which nourished the infant — > 
Zeus with her milk, and was rewarded by 
being transferred to the heavens where 
she figures as Capella (Latin, = goat). 
A horn broken off from Amaltheia was 
transformed by Zeus into the cornucopia, 
the symbol of plenty. 

Amaterasu (Japanese = 'shining from 
heaven') The sun-goddess of Shintoism, 
venerated in the shrine at Ise as the divine 
progenitor of the Japanese imperial fam- 
ily. Her epithet is Omikami: 'great and 
exalted divinity'. The myth tells how she 
arose together with the moon (god) 
when the god of heaven Izanagi washed 
his eyes on his return from the under- 
world. Angered by the atrocities com- 
mitted by the storm-god — > Susanowo, 
Amaterasu withdrew to a cave, and all 
light faded from the earth; but the other 
gods used a mirror to entice her back 

Amaunet One of the group of 
Egyptian gods known as the Ogdoad. 
She was seen as the Divine Mother pre- 
siding at the beginning of time, when 
she merged with — > Neith. In inscriptions 
she is named as 'the mother who was the 
father'; that is to say, she needed no 
spouse. Within the Ogdoad, — » Amun is 
allotted to her as partner. In the Ptolemaic 
era she was seen as the embodiment of 
the life-bringing north wind. 

Amenominakanushi (Japanese = Lord 
of the bright centre of heaven) The 
supreme heavenly divinity in Shintoism. 
In contradistinction to — > Izanagi, he 
plays no part in myth, nor is there any 
record of a shrine or place of worship in 
his honour. Nevertheless he occupies first 
place in the list of gods: transcending all 
of them, he sits alone on a nine-fold layer 
of clouds (a symbolical reference to the 
nine heavens). 

Amentet Egyptian goddess of the west 
and of the lands lying in that direction. As 
the sun sets in the west (symbolizing the 
entrance to the underworld) Amentet is 
also the goddess of the necropolis where 
she receives the dead as they enter the 

Ameretat ('non-death', 'life') In Old 
Iranian religion, Ameretat belongs to the 
circle of Amesva Spentas, where she rep- 
resents immortality. She is usually men- 
tioned together with — > Haurvatat, whose 
dominion is over the waters, while 
Ameretat rules the plant world. In the 
Yasna the two goddesses figure as the 
food and drink of heaven. For the faithful, 
they represent the reward awaiting them 
after death. As abstract concepts they are 
both feminine, but when personified each 
can take on male gender. In the final sac- 
rifice Ameretat is united with her earthly 
symbol, the world of plants. 

Amesa Spentas ('the holy immortals') 
In the religion of the Parsees, a collective 
title for the personifications of abstract 
concepts who serve — > Ahura Mazda as 
his archangels. Five of the Amesa Spentas 
may well have arisen from elemental spir- 
its via a process of reinterpretation: Asa 
(Avestan = truth) is symbolized by fire in 
the Gathas, Khsathra vairya ('desired 
realm') is the protector of metals, and 
is often represented as god of war; 

Ammon 1 1 

—> Armaiti ('compliance, compliant 
thought/speech') is closely connected 
with the earth, while — > Haurvatat ('per- 
fection') is associated with water, and 
Ameretat ('immortality') with plants. To 
this original group of five, — > Vohu Manah 
('sound views') and — > Sraosa ('obedi- 
ence') were added as archangels after 
Zarathustra. On occasion, — > Spenta 
Mainyu and even Ahura Mazda himself 
are mentioned as 'holy immortals'. 

Amida Japanese form of — > 
Amitabha, a dogmatic development of the 
eleventh/twelfth centuries. Amida is also 
given the Sanskrit name Amitayuh 
('immeasurable life'), a reference to the 
Buddha who possesses the properties of 
immeasurable light and life. In the Jodo 
faith, teaching concerning Amida coa- 
lesces with the belief in Jodo, the Pure 
Land. Thereafter, simple evocation of the 
name of Amida Buddha is enough to 
ensure release, provided belief is deep 
and genuine. 

Amitabha (Sanskrit = immeasurable 
light; Chinese A-mi-t'o or O-mi-to) 
The most popular of the five — » Dhyani- 
Buddhas. He is enthroned in heaven as 
lord of the paradisical land of Sukhavati, 
entry into which is vouchsafed to all who 
believe in him. His celestial direction is 
the west, his element is water and he is 
associated with the evening twilight. In 
iconography, he is represented as a red- 
coloured Buddha, both of his hands lie 
open in his lap in the pose of meditation. 
His ceremonial vehicle is a pair of pea- 
cocks, and he is symbolized by a lotus or 
an alms-bowl. The Amitabha cult reached 
China from India in the fourth - sixth 
centuries AD, and spread thence to Japan 
(— > Amida). 

Amm The moon-god in pre-Islamic 
South Arabia. In the kingdom of Qataban 

he had the status of a tutelary national 
god, and the people of Qataban called 
themselves 'the children of Amm'. His 
lunar character is indicated by his epithet: 
'he who waxes'. In addition, he acts as 
a weather god, and in this capacity he is 
symbolized by a cluster of lightning 

Amma The divine creator in the reli- 
gious system of the Dogon (in Mali). He 
created the universe in the form of 
a world-egg which was divided into two 
placentas: from these, the bi-sexual world 
arose. According to a different and occult 
tradition, the god raped the earth, whose 
sexual organ was an ant-hill. 

Ammavaru A mother-goddess of the 
Telugu, a Dravidian people who live in 
east-central India. According to the myth, 
she existed before the coming to being of 
the four ages, that is, before the creation 
of the world. From an egg which she laid 
in the Sea of Milk arose the three gods — > 
Brahma, Visnu, and — > Siva. She rides on 
a jackal. 

Ammit A female demon who plays 
a part in the Egyptian Day of Judgment. 
She was feared as 'devourer of the dead', 
and she had the head of a crocodile, the 
torso of a predatory cat and the buttocks 
of a hippopotamus. This monster lurked 
near the scales of justice waiting for the 
verdict to be given, whereupon she 
devoured the sinner. 

Ammon The god of the West Egyptian 
oasis of Siwa, and of its oracle site 
(Ammonium) which was celebrated in 
antiquity. The god was represented as 
a ram. Ammon is the Greek form of — > 
Amun. After visiting the Siwa oasis, 
Alexander the Great regarded himself as a 
son of Zeus-Ammon, much as the 
Pharaohs were held to be sons of Amun- 
Re. North African rock drawings showing 

12 Amoghapasa 

the ram bearing the disc of the sun are held 
to be outliers of the Ammon (Amun) cult. 

Amoghapasa ('unfailing noose') In 
Mahayana Buddhism, a form of — > 
Avalokitesvara. He is white in colour, has 
a face and eight arms, and stands with his 
feet close together on the moon. His main 
attribute is the noose (a hypostatization of 
compassion) with which he lassoes the 
faithful, much to their benefit. 

Amoghasiddhi ('flawless perfection') 
In Buddhism, one of the five Dhyani- 
Buddhas; he is green in colour and 
assigned to the northerly quarter. His 
vehicle consists of a pair of Garudas 
(mythological eagle-like birds), and his 
attribute is a double thunderbolt (visvava- 
jrd). He is associated with the bodily eye, 
the rainy season and the element of water. 
In Tantrism he may be represented with 
three faces and six arms. 

Amor The Roman god of love, corre- 
sponding to the Greek — > Eros. In Latin 
poetry Amor is also called Cupido (cupid- 
itas — longing, lust, passion). In the 
Christian Middle Ages, a distinction was 
made between Amor or Amor Dei (= God) 
and Cupido (= the devil). In classical art, 
Amor was represented as a puer alatus 
(winged youth); his attributes are a bow 
and arrows and/or a torch. The story of 
Amor and Psyche has been popular 
since the early Hellenistic period. Here, 
Psyche, representing the caducity of 
human life on earth, is awakened by 
Amor's kiss to life eternal. 

Amphitrite A goddess of the sea, pos- 
sibly pre-Hellenic. In Greek mythology, 
she is the daughter of — > Nereus, and the 
wife of — > Poseidon. Accompanied by 
Nereids and Tritons she moves over the 
waters in a vessel made of mussels. It was 
only in association with Poseidon that she 
was made an object of worship. 


('the hidden one') In the Pyramid texts 
he is already mentioned as a primeval 
god, in association with his wife — > 
Amaunet. In Old Egyptian thought he was 
the moving agent in the invisible breeze; 
thus he was venerated as god of the wind 
and ruler of the air. From the eleventh 
dynasty onwards he is attested as god of 
Thebes. Here, he coalesces with the sun- 
god (— > Re) to become Amun-Re, and, as 
Thebes increased in power, he became 
king of the gods and tutelary god of the 
empire. In his capacity as primeval god of 
creation he is venerated in the shape of 
a goose; otherwise, the ram is his sacred 
animal, a reference to his function as god 
of fertility. After the fall of Thebes his 
cult prospered in Ethiopia and among the 
oasis dwellers (— > Ammon). 

An (Anu) In Sumerian the name means 
'above', 'heaven' and is written in the 
cuneiform character with the same sign as 
the word for 'God' (dingir). His consort is 
variously given as Ki (the earth) or the 

Ani 13 

goddess Antum. An is the supreme god of 
the Sumerian pantheon, and the centre of 
his cult was at Uruk. In the Babylonian 
period his eminence as god of heaven is 
still stressed, but his role in religious 
observance is no longer an important one. 
In the main he is not favourably disposed 
towards human beings to whom he sends, 
for example, the demon — > Lamastu and 
the goddess of death — > Mamitu. Among 
the Hurrians, Anu was regarded as the 
successor of — > Alalu. 

Ana (or Anu) Celtic-Irish goddess of 
the earth and of fertility. She was said to 
be the mother of the gods. Two hills 
near Killarney in Munster are called after 
her Da Chich Anann: i.e. the two breasts 
of Ana. 

Anahita ('the immaculate') Originally, 
a Semitic goddess related to —> Anath, she 
was received into the pantheon of the 
Parsees as a goddess of fertility and of 
victory. She is pictured as a maiden in 
a mantle of gleaming gold, with a diadem 
and jewels. In iconography she wears 
a high crown, in her left hand she often 
carries a water-pot (in her capacity as 
goddess of water) and at her breast 
she carries a pomegranate blossom. The 
dove and the peacock are sacred to 
her. Temple prostitution formed part of 
her cult. In the Avestan calendar, the tenth 
day and the eighth month are dedicated 
to her. In Middle Persian tradition she is 
called Ardvi Sur, and in Asia Minor she 
was assimilated to the Great Mother. 
After the conquest of Babylonia by the 
Persians some traits of — > Istar as goddess 
of love and of the planets were transferred 
to Anahita. 

Ananke Greek goddess of fate. As the 
personification of ineluctable necessity, of 
inevitability, she is even set above the gods. 
In Orphic teaching she is incorporeal but 

universally present. On occasion she fuses 
with the figure of — > Adrasteia. In her 
capacity as 'she who guides the worlds', 
she is portrayed holding a spindle. 

Anat(h) To begin with, a Phoenician- 
Canaanite goddess whose name is inter- 
preted as meaning 'providence' or 
'precaution'. She is the maiden sister of 
— > Baal, but also on occasion his spouse. 
In the Ugarit texts, she wreaks terrible 
revenge on the god of death — > Mot, on 
behalf of her dead brother. She was taken 
over by various peoples in Hither Asia as 
the goddess of nature and life, and con- 
tributed something towards the make-up 
of — > Astarte and of — > Atargatis. From 
the Ramessids onwards, Anat was also 
venerated in Egypt as a goddess of war; in 
this capacity her attributes include shield, 
spear and axe, and also a high crown with 
two ostrich feathers. 

Anbay A pre-Islamic god in south 
Arabia. His name may have been origi- 
nally a regal plural and may be etymolog- 
ically connected with the name of the old 
Mesopotamian god — > Nabu ('the harbin- 
ger'). Anbay is an oracular god and 'Lord 
of justice'. In his capacity as 'spokesman' 
('harbinger') he acts for the moon-god 
(— > Amm) who ranks above him in the 

Anezti (Anedjti) God of the ninth 
nome of Lower Egypt, from whom —> 
Osiris seems to have borrowed the crook 
and scourge as symbols of overlordship. 

Arigiras (ang = to say, announce, related 
to Greek angehs = angel) 'The seers 
descended from the gods' in the Veda and 
in Hinduism: 'sons of heaven' who by 
dint of sacrifice achieved immortality and 
the friendship of — > Indra. 

Ani Etruscan god. On the bronze liver 
he is located at the exact north, that is to 

14 Anky-Kele 

say, in the highest heaven. The name Ani 
may be etymologically connected with 
that of the Roman god — » Janus. Whether 
two-visaged coins indicate an Etruscan 
Ianus bifrons is not certain: and equally 
doubtful is the claim that Ani comes from 
ianus ('buttress', 'arched gate') and is 
therefore connected with a sky-god (arch 
of heaven). 

Anky-Kele The god of the sea in the 
pantheon of the Chukchi people in north- 
east Siberia. As lord of the (sea)creatures, 
and hence of the food supply, he has power 
of life and death over the human race. 

Anna Perenna An ancient Roman 
goddess. During the class war between 
the patricians and the plebeians she is 
supposed to have saved the latter from 
famine. She was worshipped in a grove 
lying to the north of Rome, and every 
year on 15 March there was a popular 
open-air festival in her honour. It is possi- 
ble that Anna Perenna is a derivation of 
the Earth Mother. 

Ansar and Kisar According to the 
Babylonian creation epic Enuma Elis, the 
third generation of gods and the parents 
of the sky-god (— > An). The name Ansar 
is construed as meaning 'totality of 
heaven' or 'horizon of heaven'; Kisar 
would then be 'totality of earth' or 'earth 
horizon'. Similarity in sound led to the 
Assyrian national god — > Assur being 
identified in the late Assyrian period with 
Ansar, and promoted to a position of 
supremacy over all the gods. 

Antaios (in Latin Antaeus) According 
to Greek myth, the son of — > Poseidon and 
the goddess of the earth — » Gaia. The 
Greek word antaios means 'he who meets'. 
The giant Antaios lived in Libya; and 
everyone whom he met there he challenged 
to a wrestling match and killed. Herakles 
finally overcame him by picking him up 

from the ground, thereby severing Antaios' 
dynamic contact with Mother Earth. 


Egyptian god of the dead, in the shape of 
a dog or a jackal; occasionally in human 
shape with a dog's head. It is not certain 
what the name means; the meaning 'little 
dog' has been suggested. At Assiut, 
Anubis was known by the epithet 'Lord of 
the cave mouth', i.e. the entrance into 
the city of the dead. As god of the dead he 
is 'Lord of the divine hall' and hence 
in charge of mummification, in which 
capacity he undertakes the ritual prepara- 
tion of the corpse and its transfiguration. 
With the rise of — » Osiris, Anubis was 
demoted vis-a-vis the new Lord of the 
Dead and put in charge of weighing the 
hearts at the last judgment. The Greeks 
gave the name Kynopolis to important 
centres of worship. In the interpretatio 
graeca Anubis was identified with — > 

Anuket (Greek form Anukis) Egyptian 
goddess of the Cataract area. Particularly 
venerated in Elephantine, she was also 
known as 'mistress of Nubia'. Her sacred 
animal was the gazelle. 

Aphrodite 1 5 

Anunna (Sumerian = 'those who are of 
princely seed') Collective title for the 
pantheon of a given locality: e.g. the 
Anunna of Lagas, or for the gods of 
heaven and earth. In Akkadian (the lan- 
guage spoken in Babylonia and Assyria) 
the loan-word Anunnaku denotes the 
lower gods in contra-distinction to the 
gods who dwell in heaven (—¥ Igigi). 


• Trowo 

Apam napat ('Grandchild of the waters') 
In Old Iranian belief a 'god found in 
the water'. He is the giver of water to 
men, but he also acts in a military 
capacity. He is the hero who quells 
rebellious lands. His epithet is 'owner of 
swift steeds'. Vedic India had a god 
of the same name; according to the 
Rigveda he is golden in appearance and 
he distributes water. It is possible that — > 
Poseidon as he appears on Bactrian 
coins is a mutation of the Old Iranian 

Aparajita ('theunconquered') Belongs 
to the — ¥ Krodhadevatas of Indian 
Buddhism. He is white in colour, and dec- 
orated with snakes. He has three faces - 
white, black and red. In pre-Buddhist 
belief he seems to have figured as leader 
of the demons, and as such is trampled 
underfoot by — ¥ Bhutadamara. 

Aparajita ('the unconquered one' 
(female)) A female deity in Indian 
Buddhism; she is yellow in colour and has 
one head and two arms, and is bedecked 
with jewels. Her countenance arouses ter- 
ror, and she tramples —¥ Ganesa under- 
foot. She scatters all devilish beings (—¥ 
Maras) and unruly gods like — ¥ Brahma 
are obliged to hold her sunshade over 
her head. 

Aphrodite Greek goddess of beauty 
and love, identified by the Romans with 

— ¥ Venus. Attempts to derive her name 
from the Greek word aphros = foam, date 
back to antiquity. On this interpretation, 
the goddess is 'she who is born of the 
foam'; or, as another of her names - 
Anadyomene - suggests 'she who arises 
from the sea'. Her cult is pre-Greek and 
probably oriental in origin; certain rites 
associated with her, like the temple pros- 
titution in Corinth, remind us of — ¥ 
Astarte. She was also known as Kypris 
and as Kythereia after the main shrines in 
her honour on Cyprus and Kythera. 
In coastal areas she was revered as 
Euploia - 'she who confers a good voy- 
age'. Plato and others make a distinction 
between the 'heavenly' Aphrodite 
(Urania) and the goddess who 'belongs to 
the whole people' (Pandemos). According 
to Homer, Aphrodite was the daughter of 
— ¥ Zeus and Dione, married to — ¥ 
Hephaistos but in love with — ¥ Ares, 
a liaison from which —¥ Eros was born. 
She also loved the beautiful — ¥ Adonis. 
Her attribute was the dove. Her aegis cov- 
ered fertility in the plant world, and she 
was venerated in Athens as the goddess of 

16 Apis 

Apis (in Egyptian Hapi) Holy bull 
worshipped in Memphis. He was origi- 
nally a symbol of fertility, but in the 
course of time he acquired other charac- 
teristics; above all, he came to be identi- 
fied with the 'glorious soul' of — > Ptah. 
After his death, Apis enters the god — > 
Osiris, and the compound Osiris-Apis (in 
Grecianized form Serapis) is used to 
denote the ensuing mixta persona. Apis 
became a god of the dead. From the New 
Kingdom onwards he wears the disc of 
the sun as a head-dress. Apis-bulls were 
regarded as holy and were interred in sub- 
terranean burial chambers in the so-called 
Serapeum. Herodotus identifies Apis with 
— > Epaphos. 

Aplu An Etruscan god borrowed from 
the Greek pantheon (— > Apollon), latterly 
specified as god of thunder and lightning. 
He is pictured as naked except for a man- 
tle which covers part of his body; on his 
head is a wreath of laurel and he holds in 
his hands a staff which usually ends in 
a laurel twig. The god figures in various 
myths, but there is no trace of a cult 
devoted to him. 

Apo Katawan 'Master' or 'Father' 
Katawan: a god of the Hambal-Aeta, 
a negrito tribe in the Philippines. Sacrifice 
is made to him, and people pray to him. 

Apollon A Greek god, probably of Asia 
Minor origin. He fulfills several functions: 
as protector of cattle, he keeps wolves 
away (hence his name of Lykeios); as pro- 
moter of agriculture he gets rid of field- 
mice (Smintheus); and as a stone pillar 
standing in front of a house he protects 
both it and its inhabitants (Apollon 
Agyieus). He is a god of healing (with 
a snake as attribute) and a god of expiation, 
whose arrows bring sickness and death. 
Above all, however, he is the god of ora- 
cles, his most celebrated oracular shrines 

being Delphi and Delos. The laurel plant is 
sacred to him. As god of the muses 
Apollon Musagetes he is often represented 
with a lyre, and singing and music are in 
his gift. Finally, from the sixth century 
onwards he was demonstrably venerated as 
a sun-god. His epithet Phoebus ('the bright 
or pure one') was originally understood in 
a purely cultic sense, but it soon acquired 
ethical connotations. The myth relates how 
he slew the Python dragon, only a few days 
after his birth. His parents were — > Zeus 
and — > Leto, his twin sister was — > 
Artemis, and his son was the god of heal- 
ing — > Asklepios. Apollon was the first 
Greek god to be introduced into Italy 
(Etruscan — > Aplu). Augustus saw him as 
his personal tutelary god. 

Apophis An Egyptian monster, reptil- 
ian in nature, which lives in darkness and 
which threatens the sun-god in his daily 
journey across the heavens. Apophis is 
a rebel against divine and cosmic order. It 
is told in the hymns to the sun how the 
snake-demon is sliced with knives or 
pierced by a lance. In the late Egyptian 

Ares 1 7 

period, Apophis came to be identified 
with — > Seth. 

Apsaras Vedic water-spirits. As heav- 
enly beings they are coupled with the 
musicians of the world of the gods 
(— > Gandharvas). They are fond of games 
of chance, and confer good fortune at 
the gaming table. According to the 
Atharvaveda, they can cause madness. It 
has been suggested that the name derives 
from Sanskrit ap = water and sar = to 

Apsu (Akkadian; the Sumerian form is 
Abzu) Personification of the sweet- 
water ocean lying under the earth, which 
united with — > Tiamat at the beginning of 
time. According to Sumerian myth, Abzu 
is the place where the goddess — > Nammu 
formed the first men from clay. The 
Babylonian creation epic relates how 
Apsu is slain by the magic weapons of 
the goddess — > Ea. It is in Apsu - that is 
to say, in the water - that Marduk is 
finally born. 

Aralez The ancient Armenians believed 
in the existence of these dog-like creatures 
gifted with supernatural powers. Their 
specific function was to lick the wounds 
of those killed or wounded in battle, 
who then recovered or were resurrected to 
new life. In the popular mind they were 
beneficent dog-like spirits who lived in 
heaven; at an earlier date they may well 
have been seen as god-like creatures of a 
menial order. 



Aramazd (from Old Persian — > Ahura 
Mazda) The supreme deity of the 
ancient Armenians, creator of heaven and 
earth. He has a son — > Mihr, and a daugh- 
ter — > Nana. He was taken over by the 
pre-Christian Georgians under the name 
of — > Armaz. In the ascendancy of the 

Greek pantheon he was identified with 
— > Zeus. 

Arapacana A — > Bodhisattva, one- 
faced, red or white in colour and resplen- 
dent like the full moon. He sits in 
meditative pose on a double lotus. In his 
right hand he wields a sword, in his left he 
holds a book which he presses to his 

Aray (also Ara) Old Armenian god of 
war, known as 'the beautiful'. Probably of 
common Indo-Germanic origin along 
with — > Ares (originally a Thracian god). 
However, Aray also has certain character- 
istics of a dying god who rises again, 
which lends some support to the thesis 
that this Armenian god was identical with 
the Hittite god of the countryside who 
bore the same name. It is possible that this 
god lives on in Aralo, the Georgian god of 

Arduinna A local goddess in Gaul, 
named after the Ardennes. She was a god- 
dess of hunting, and interpreted by the 
Romans as equivalent to — > Diana. Her 
sacred animal was the boar. 

Arebati Mythical sky-god of the 
Bambuti (Pigmy people on the Ituri in 
Congo). He is the ruler of the world, who 
created the first man by kneading his 
body from clay, covering it with a skin 
and pouring blood into the vessel thus 
formed. His epithet afa (= father) is to be 
understood in the same sense. 

Ares (accented in Latin on first syllable: 
Ares) Greek god of war. Etymologically, 
his name is not entirely clear, but it proba- 
bly means something like 'destroyer' or 
'avenger'. He is accompanied by —> Eris 
(dissension), Enyo (horror) and Phobos 
(fear). His original homeland was Thrace, 
and few temples were devoted to him 
in Hellas. He was not a popular god, and 

1 8 Arethusa 

accordingly he is not often portrayed 
in Greek art. His parents were — > Zeus 
and — > Hera, and his mistress was — > 
Aphrodite. The war-like Amazons were 
supposed to be his daughters. The 
Romans identified Ares with their own 
god — > Mars. 



Aretia In Armenian belief, the earth, 
venerated as holy; spouse of Noah (prop- 
erly an Old Testament figure), and mother 
of all living creatures. 



Argos In Greek mythology a many- 
eyed giant entrusted by — > Hera to keep 
guard on — ¥ Io; he was, however, lulled to 
sleep by — > Hermes and killed. His name 
has become proverbial for eyes which 
miss nothing. 

Arhat (Sanskrit, 'he who is worthy of 
reverence') In Buddhism and Jainism 
a saint, one who has reached the highest 
stage of perfection possible on earth. In 
Hinayana Buddhism, the ideal figure who 

has reached the goal of self-deliverance, by 
means of asceticism and meditation; in 
Mahayana Buddhism, the — > Bodhisattva 
who shows others the way to salvation and 
sacrifices himself for them, is more highly 
venerated. Essentially, the Arhat is a human 
being, but he is endowed with the heavenly 
eye which he uses to perceive the ebb and 
flow of beings in the different worlds. In 
the pantheon of Chinese Buddhism, the 
Arhats (called in Chinese lo-han) form 
a third class after the Buddhas and the 
Bodhisattvas, thus still occupying a higher 
position than the gods. In Jainism, the 
Arhats are removed in their perfection from 
all earthly desires and actions, and they are 
revered as 'supreme gods'. 

Ariadne Originally a Minoan goddess; 
her Cretan name Aridela means 'she 
who shines in splendour'. Her death as 
described in Homer suggests a goddess of 
vegetation. In the myth, Ariadne is the 
daughter of the Cretan king — > Minos and 
of — > Pasiphae. She uses a ball of wool to 
help Theseus to find the way out of the 
mazes of the labyrinth. After her death, 
Ariadne was led out of the underworld by 
her husband — > Dionysos and taken up to 
Olympus. Her crown was fixed by — > 
Zeus as a constellation in the heavens 
(Corona Borealis). 

Arimanius (Areimanios) A variant 
name for the Persian — > Ahriman, found 
in classical writers. According to 
Herodotus, a god of the underworld, 
'kakodaimon' in contrast to the good 
spirit. Plutarch says he is an embodiment 
of Hades and the darkness invoked by 
Persian magi. Later he came to be identi- 
fied with the Egyptian god — > Serapis (as 
god of the dead) as well. 

Arinna Really the name of a Hittite 
town, after which this goddess was called 
'Sun of Arinna'. She was also known as 

Artemis 19 

Ariniddu, after her most important shrine. 
She is 'Queen of Heaven and Earth', she 
protects the kingdom and assists in its 
wars. Her cult symbol is the sun disc. She 
is often identified with the Hurrian god- 
dess of heaven — > Hebat. Husband of both 
is the weather-god. 

Aristaios An ancient Greek peasant 
god, protector of herds and the original 
bee-keeper. In Hellas he was ousted from 
favour by — > Apollon, as whose son he 
was subsequently regarded. In Kyrene 
(Libya) he continued to be venerated as 
the son of the goddess of the town. 

Arma A Hittite moon-god, correspon- 
ding to the Hurrian — > Kusuh. In hiero- 
glyphic Hittat his determinant is a sickle 
moon (Lunula). On reliefs he wears the 
sickle moon on his pointed and horned 
cap. On his back he has a pair of wings. 

Armaiti (also Aramati) Personification 
of 'compliant speech' (and thereby corre- 
sponding to the Vedic — > Sarasvati) 
belonging to the — > Amesa Spentas. In the 
Gathas, Armaiti is closely associated with 
the earth and offers nourishment to the 
cow. She is goddess of the earth and 
hence of fertility, and also of the dead 
who have 'gone into' the earth. 

Armany (Hungarian armanyos = cun- 
ning, insidious) The gloomy prospect 
facing the world was personified under 
this name in the Romantic movement in 
Hungary. First so used by Vorosmarty 
in 1825. 

Armaz The supreme deity in pre- 
Christian Georgia; corresponds to the 
Armenian — > Aramazd. His cult represen- 
tation is described as clothed in golden 
armour, with a golden helmet and jewels. 
In his hand he carries a gleaming sword. 

Arsnuphis (also Harensnuphis) Greek 
form of Egyptian divine name meaning 

'the beautiful companion'. He is a Nubian 
god ('Foremost of Nubia') in the sense of 
the Egyptian — > Su; and he is also identi- 
fied with the Nubian regional god — > 
Dedun. He is often represented as a lion. 

Arsu One of the most popular gods of 
Palmyra (ancient North Arabia). He is 
twin brother of Azizu (— ¥ Azizos); 
together they represent the evening and 
the morning star, and are pictured in 
Palmyra as riding on camels or on horses. 


Greek goddess of the hunt, who can be 
shown to share in the functions of several 
other divinities. She is Queen of the wild 
beasts {Potnia theron) in which capacity 
she can be traced back to the Minoan 
period. Graphically, she is represented as 
winged and accompanied by lions, deer 
and birds. Mainly, however, she appears 
as the virgin huntress roaming the woods 
with her attendants, the — > Nymphs. She 
can use her arrows - like her brother — > 
Apollon - to send peaceful death or sud- 
den destruction. In anger she is terrible. 

20 Artio 

Originally, human sacrifice was not 
unknown to her cult - we may recall the 
story of Iphigenia who was replaced on 
the altar by a hind. She was also the god- 
dess of birth, and on Delos women sacri- 
ficed their hair to her in token of their 
devotion. She also appears as a goddess 
of vegetation and fertility (e.g. in the 
Peloponnese). In Asia Minor her cult 
overlapped that of the Great Mother (the 
many-breasted Artemis of Ephesus). 
Later, Artemis also came to be identified 
with the moon-goddess — > Selene. As 
bearer of light (Phosphoros) she had 
a temple in the harbour of Athens. The 
myth makes her the daughter of — > Zeus 
and of — > Leto. 

Artio A goddess of forests and hunting 
venerated in north-east Gaul and by the 
Helvetii in Switzerland. Her attribute is 
a bear. 

Aruna (1) 


Aruna (2) ('reddish') In Indian reli- 
gions the early dawn personified in the 
Puranas as the charioteer of the sun. He is 
counted among the — > Adityas. 

Aryaman Belongs to the Vedic group 
of the — > Adityas. He is the personifica- 
tion of hospitality and appears in the 
Rigveda as founder of matrimony. The 
same god is found in Iran under the name 
of — » Airyaman. 

As (pi. Aesir) In Norse mythology, the 
race of gods inhabiting Asgard were 
called the Aesir. The name comes from 
Old Norse ass = stake, beam, and this 
might suggest that the oldest representa- 
tions of these gods were carved stakes. At 
the head of the Aesir was —> Odin, and 
they included — > Thor, — > Tyr, — > Balder, 
— > Heimdall, and the goddesses — ¥ Frigg, 
— > Nanna, and — > Sif. In the History of the 
Goths written by the historian Jordanes, 

the Aesir appear as deified ancestors 
(Gothic ansis). The dividing line between 
the Aesir and the other race of Germanic 
gods, the — > Vanir, is not fixed. 

As Egyptian god, described as 'Lord of 
Libya', dating from the very earliest 
times. He is represented either anthropo- 
morphously or with a falcon's head. Later, 
he continued to be worshipped in oases in 
the Libyan desert, and took on some char- 
acteristics of — > Seth. He is often shown 
with the head of one of the animals sacred 
to Seth. 

Asag In Sumerian mythology a demon 
which dries up wells and covers the earth 
with sores into which it squirts poison. 
Originally seen as the agent bringing ill- 
nesses. Its Akkadian name is Asakku. 

Asalluhi (or Asariluchi) Sumerian god, 
assisting in the ritual of exorcism. The son 
of — > Enki, to whom he reports the evil 
deeds of the demons. 

Asar Old Arabian equestrian god; 
known from a few inscriptions from 
Palmyra and some reliefs. 

Asasel (Azazel) Hebrew proper name 
for a demon of the wilderness to whom 
a scapegoat is sent on the Day of 
Atonement. (Leviticus 16: 8-10). In the 
apocryphal book of Enoch, Asasel 
appears as the ringleader of the rebellious 

Asera(t) Originally a goddess of the 
Semitic Amorites, similar in her functions 
as goddess of love and fertility to — > 
Astarte, possibly even identical with her. 
She is usually shown naked. In the Ras 
Shamra texts she is described as the 
spouse of the supreme god — > El, and 
is designated as 'Queen of the Sea' 
and 'Mother of the gods'. Her cult pene- 
trated into Israelite territory (I Kings 
15: 13) and the images - also called 

Assur 21 

asera - mentioned in I Kings 14: 23 may 
have been these of her cult. 

Asertu A north-west Semitic goddess; 
the Hittite form of her name is Aserdus. 
She is identical with the Syrian-Ugaritic 
— > Atirat. In a myth of Canaanite origin 
Asertu is unfaithful to her husband 
Elkunirsa when she tries to seduce the 

Asnan (in Sumerian Emmer) Old 
Mesopotamian goddess of wheat, daughter 
of — > Enki. 


(in Latin, the accent is on e: Asklepios) 
Greek god of healing. His oldest known 
temple was at Trikka in Thessaly. It was 
only from the fifth century BC onwards 
that his cult spread over the whole of 
Hellas, and he began to oust his father — > 
Apollon as a divine healer. Originally he 
may have been a snake-god; and when 
new votive shrines were being dedicated 
to him, a snake was involved in the cere- 
mony as an incarnation of the god. He is 
usually pictured as a bearded man with 
his staff round which the sacred snake is 
entwined. The main centre of his cult was 
at Epidauros. His daughter was supposed 

to be — > Hygieia. Doctors in antiquity 
called themselves asklepiades. According 
to the myth, Asklepios learnt the art of 
healing from the wise Centaur Cheiron. 
He was particularly esteemed by the 
Romans (— > Aesculapius); in Hellenistic- 
Roman Egypt his name was transferred to 
— > Imhotep. 

Asmodaios (in Latin Asmodeus, in the 
Talmud Asmedai) A demon (—¥ Aesma 
Daeva) taken from Old Iranian religion 
by the post-exile Jews (Tobias 3: 8, 17). 
In rabbinic literature he becomes the 
chief of the evil spirits. In some ways, 
Asmodaios is reminiscent of the Assyrian 
— > Pazuzu. 

Asokakanta Sub-form of the 
Buddhist goddess — » Marici. She rides on 
a pig and is golden-yellowish in colour. 
Sometimes she is pictured as standing on 
the moon above a lotus. She is clothed in 
white and she herself is bedecked with 
jewels; with her right hand she makes the 
varada-mudra gesture, indicating that 
certain wishes have been granted. 

Asopos Boeotian river-god (after the 
river of the same name in central Greece). 
Son of — > Poseidon. When — > Zeus 
abducted one of his daughters, Asopos 
himself was struck by lightning. 

Assur Originally the tutelary god of 
the town Assur; subsequently promoted to 
the rank of national god of Assyria. 
Etymologically the name is obscure. 
From the thirteenth century BC onwards, 
he gains the ascendancy over — > Enlil, 
ousts him from the dominant role and 
takes over the epithets 'Great Mountain' 
and 'Father of the Gods'. From the ninth 
century BC onwards he is equated with 
— > Ansar. Among his functions are the 
judicial office, otherwise reserved to 
the sun-god, and the conduct of war. 
In Assyrian art he is shown as a god 

22 Astabhuja-Kurukulla 


standing in the winged disc of the sun and 
holding or bending a bow. 

Astabhuja-Kurukulla (astabhuja = the 
eight-armed one) Special form taken 
by the Buddhist goddess Kurukulla. In the 
Sadhana texts she is described as having 
one head and eight arms, and as red in 
colour. She sits in meditation on the sun 
above a red lotus with eight leaves. 

Astar (Ethiopic = sky, heavens) Often 
mentioned as god of heaven or sky-god in 
inscriptions dating from the time of the 
empire of Axum (Ethiopia, third to fifth 
centuries AD). The name is etymologi- 
cally related to the South Arabian — > 

Astarte (Astarat) Semitic goddess, 
associated mainly with Syria and 
Palestine. The Ugaritic form of her name 
is Attart; she appears in the Old Testament 
as — > Asthoreth, and in Babylon as — > 
Istar. Her cult was that of an oriental god- 
dess of love and fertility, and was accord- 
ingly marked by many excesses (temple 
prostitution). She is usually shown naked. 
When she was taken over by the 
Egyptians she began to figure more and 
more as a goddess of war, and spear and 

bow were her attributes. Among the 
Greeks, Astarte was identified with — > 
Aphrodite as the heavenly goddess of 
love. As in the case of other fertility god- 
desses, her sacred creature was the dove. 
According to Philon of Byblos, she 
donned a bull's head as a symbol of her 
ruling position, and there are other refer- 
ences to the horns assigned to her. 



Asthoreth A goddess worshipped in 
the Palestine area, corresponding to the 
Syrian — > Astarte. She was principally 
a goddess of love and fertility, though 
among the Philistines she was a goddess 
of war. Solomon paid occasional homage 
to her, and even had a temple erected in 
her honour near Jerusalem (I Kings 11:5; 
II Kings 23: 13). The plural form of her 
name is Astharoth, and this is used in con- 
junction with Baal as a collective name 
for the female divinities of the Canaanites 
(Judges 2: 13; I Samuel 12: 10). The bib- 
lical place-name Astharoth-Karnaim, i.e. 
Astharoth with the two horns', indicates 
that a horned goddess was visualized. 

Astlik (from astl = star) An Armenian 
goddess of astral nature, equivalent to the 

Athena 23 

Old Mesopotamian — > Istar and to — > 
Aphrodite of the Hellenistic period: that 
is to say, she is seen mainly in the role of 
a goddess of love. With the coming 
of Christianity Astlik's status was reduced 
to that of progenitrix of fairies and 

Asto Vidatu (Avestan ast = bone) The 
name may be roughly translated as 'disin- 
tegrator of bodies'. Initially a minor 
demon, later promoted to the status of 
a god of death, whom no mortal can 
escape. From the moment of generation 
on, all men should know that his noose is 
already round their necks. For this reason, 
he has the epithet Marg = death. In 
Middle Persian texts he also appears as a 
chief representative of the devil. 

Asura In Indian Buddhism a group of 
demons who once upon a time lived in 
heaven but who were cast by the gods into 
the ocean. The story of the struggle 
between the gods and the Asura is 
a favourite theme in the Pali canon. In the 
Vedic religion, the Asura (Vedic, asu = 
life, life-force) were a primeval group of 
gods who were superseded by the up-and- 
coming — > Devas. In the Atharvaveda and 
thereafter, the name denotes only demons. 

Asurakumara ('Demon-princes') In 
Jainism, the first group of the — > 
Bhavanavasin gods. They belong to the 
uppermost regions of the underworld; 
they are black in colour and their clothing 
is red. Like the gods, they are able to gen- 
erate rain and thunder. 

Asvin (asvin = having horses) Indian 
twin gods equivalent to the — > Dioskiiroi. 
They appear driving their horses in the 
morning sky, and they are givers of honey. 
The fact that they are twins is attested in 
the Rigveda. As divine healers they can 
cure the sick and rejuvenate the old. At 
a later period in Indian thought they are 

associated with — > Surya. As sons of — > 
Dyaus, they are also called nasatyas. 

Ataecina Old Hispanic goddess, ven- 
erated in the region between the Tagus 
and the Guadalquivir. Interpreted by the 
Romans as equivalent to Proserpina. 
From inscriptions it is clear that she was 
regarded as a goddess of the underworld: 
one stele shows her holding a cypress 

Atargatis Syrian Mother Goddess 
(Dea Syria) who was also venerated in 
Asia Minor and in Greece during the 
Hellenistic-Roman period. The centre of 
her cult was at Bambyke (Hierapolis) in 
Syria. The name Atargatis is a compound 
of — > Astarte and — > Anat, whose func- 
tions she took over, particularly those 
relating to fertility. The male partner 
allotted to her was — > Adad. Her throne 
was flanked by lions; the ear (of wheat) 
and the coping stone were her attributes. 
In Askalon she was worshipped under the 
name Derketo in mermaid form. 

Ate Greek goddess of disaster; the 
embodiment of blind folly, benightedness, 
which stupefies man, mind and soul, and 
lands one in disaster. She was supposed to 
be a daughter of —¥ Zeus. 

Atea The primeval god of Polynesian 
tradition: the space in light which was in 
the beginning sexless but which then 
divided itself into the god — > Rangi 
(heaven, sky) and the goddess Papa. 
These two are the parents of all the gods. 
A Tahitian myth relates that Atea was 
created as an initially female divinity by 
— > Tangaroa. 

Athena (or Athene) Virgin tutelary 
goddess of Athens and Greek goddess of 
wisdom. Originally a Cretan-Minoan 
palace goddess, perhaps identical with a 
Cretan snake-goddess: the snake continued 

24 Atirat 

into later times to be associated with her 
(picture in the Parthenon). Her epithet 
glaukopis (= owl-eyed) hints at an ear- 
lier version in the shape of a bird. In 
Homer, Athena appears in two forms: as 
Promachos ('champion') she is goddess 
of battle and bearer of the terrible aegis 
(the breastplate with the head of Medusa); 
and as Ergane ('Craftsman') she acts as 
instructor in the handicrafts. In her capa- 
city as a protective deity she bears the epi- 
thet Pallas; and the palladion, the icon 
named after her, was supposed to protect 
the city and its houses from harm. 
Regarding her birth, the myth tells how 
she sprang from the head of her father — > 
Zeus. She forms no amorous attachment 
of any kind, and remains Parthenos - the 
virgin. The tale is told of how the gods 
competed with each other to see which of 
them could provide the most noble gift: 
Athena won the competition by giving 
Attica the olive-tree. But that was not all: 
she gave the peasant his plough, to 
women she gave the loom and she 
invented the flute. Thus, along with 
her role as goddess of war she is also 

a goddess of peace. The Romans equated 
her with —¥ Minerva. 

Atirat A West-Semitic goddess, 
described by the Babylonian king 
Hammurabi as 'daughter-in-law of the 
king of heaven' and 'queen of lascivious- 
ness'. The name derives either from atir 
= friend, or from an Arabic word mean- 
ing 'brilliance, brightness'; if the latter 
derivation is correct, this would seem to 
point to a solar connection. In South 
Arabia, Atirat appears in association with 
the moon-god — > Amm. 

Atlas ('the bearer') Son of the Titan -> 
Iapetos and the Oceanid Klymene; sen- 
tenced to carry the vault of heaven 
because he took part in the campaign 
against the gods. The equation with the 
mountain range in North Africa was 
known in antiquity; for example, it is to 
be found in Herodotus. 

Atlaua Old Mexican water-god 
(Nahuatl all — water) who is also associ- 
ated with the 'arrow' (atlatl). He is 
'Master of the waters'. When he takes 
his arrow in his hand, he will soar up like 
the Quetzal bird. 

Aton In Ancient Egypt, primarily the 
designation of the visible disc of the sun, 
which was regarded as a manifestation of 
— > Re. In the New Kingdom, the sun-disc 
was personified and under King 
Amenophis IV, who called himself 
Echnaton (i.e. 'he pleases Aton'), it was 
declared to be the one true god. Portrayals 
from this period show the sun-disc, whose 
rays are arms which end in hands bearing 
the loop of life. The monotheism associ- 
ated with Aton was abandoned after the 
death of Echnaton. 

Atri One of the deified bards, singers 
of sacred songs (— > Risis) in ancient 
India. His name, 'the devouring one', was 

Avalokitesvara 25 

an epithet of fire. We are told in the 
Rigveda that he discovered the sun which 
had been swallowed by a demon, and put 
it back into the heavens. According to the 
Puranas he is the father of — > Soma. 



'Attar A god worshipped in South 
Arabia BC. In invocations of the divine 
trinity he takes pride of place. The planet 
Venus is allotted to him (the morning 
star); and he is a god of war and of pro- 
tection in war, with the epithet 'he who is 
bold in battle'. In addition, he is the giver 
of water, vital for life, a function in which 
his services overlap those of the moon- 
god. The antelope is sacred to him, and 
one of his symbols is the spear-point. 
Outside South Arabia, Attar may assume 
androgynous traits (as in Ugarit). 

Attis Phrygian god of vegetation, lover 
of the Great Mother (— > Kybele). In an 
older version of the myth he is a beautiful 
youth who is killed by a boar while hunt- 
ing. The later version is the better known: 
according to it, Attis loses his reason in 
his desperate passion for Kybele, and 
emasculates himself under a pine-tree. 
Spring flowers and trees grow up from the 
blood of the dying youth. Attis mystery 
rites with sacramental partaking of food 
and taurobolium (baptism with bull's 
blood) were widespread throughout the 
Roman Empire. At the end of March 
the feast of the dying and resurrected 
god (symbolized by a pine-tree) was 

Atum Ancient Egyptian primeval god 
and creator of the world, venerated espe- 
cially in Heliopolis. His name is construed 
as meaning 'he who is not yet completed', 
or perhaps 'the nonexistent'. Before 
heaven and earth became separated he was 
the 'one lord'. In the Pyramid texts he 
appears as the primeval mountain, that is, 

the first substance to arise from primeval 
chaos. He may take the form of the scarab, 
the snake or (later) the ichneumon. 
Atum begat the first divine couple — > Su 
(breath of wind) and — > Tefnut (humidity). 
In accordance with the solar syncretism of 
the Egyptians, Atum and —¥ Re could be 

Atunis The Etruscan name of — > 
Adonis, taken over by the Etruscans from 
the Greek pantheon in the fourth century 
BC. Represented only on mirrors, usually 
in association with — > Turan; the two 
together corresponding to the Oriental- 
Mediterranean pair of the Great Mother 
and her son. 

Aufaniae Celtic deities, known from 
votive inscriptions found in the Rhineland 
and in Spain. They seem to be matron-like 

Aurora For the Romans, the morning 
red and the goddess who raises it in the 
sky; cf. —> Eos in Greece. 

Auseklis (Latvian = morning star) A 
Baltic stellar god, subordinate to the 
moon but often represented as serving the 
sun. When marriages are held in heaven 
he forms part of the bridal cortege, and he 
is a willing helper in the heavenly bath- 
house. As a place associated with birth 
and with curative properties, the bath- 
house was particularly strongly endowed 
with vital forces. 



Avalokitesvara (also Avalokita or 
Lokesvara) In Buddhism, the most 
popular of all the — > Bodhisattvas. He is 
regarded as an emanation of — > Amitabha, 
and as the so-called — ¥ Dhyani- 
Bodhisattva of the present age. The name 
is variously interpreted, with little agree- 
ment as to what it may mean: 'the lord who 
descends'; 'he who is enabled to reach the 

26 Awonawilona 

highest understanding'; 'master of light' 
(i.e., of the inner light, enlightenment). He 
is an embodiment of compassion, a main 
virtue in Buddhism. Out of compassion he 
descends to hell in order to redeem the 
souls who suffer there. Iconographically he 
is depicted in many ways. Usually he has 
two arms, but in the Tannic tradition he has 
four or six arms. One of his most signifi- 
cant attributes is the wreath of roses; 
another is the moon (— > Amoghapasa, — > 
Khasarpana). In his plaited crown he bears 
the portrait of Amitabha. When he is 
shown with ten or eleven faces, this is with 
reference to his universality. One of his 
most popular representations is as 
Cintamanicakra-Avalokitesvara: that is, he 
bears as attributes a jewel (cintamani) held 
before the breast, and a wheel (cakra). In 
China he has been transformed into the 
female deity — > Guan Yin. In Japan he is 
known as K(w)annon and in Tibet as 
sPyan-ras-gzigs, as an incarnation of 
whom the Dalai Lama is regarded. 

Awonawilona Creation god of the 
Zuni (one of the Pueblo Indian tribes). He 
is the origin of all life; his epithet 'He- 
she' shows that he is held to be hermaph- 
rodite. He created heaven/father and 
earth/mother by throwing balls of his skin 
on the primeval waters. 

Ayiyanayaka (also Ayiyan) A kind- 
hearted tutelary god of woodland and 
countryside venerated by the Dravidians 

and the Singhalese, the protecting deity of 
the northern part of the island of Ceylon 
(Sri Lanka). According to one myth he 
was born as a golden statue from the right 
hand of — > Visnu. The god is still invoked 
today to protect crops and when there is 
danger of plague. 

Ays Among the Armenians this word 
means not only 'wind' but also the evil 
spirit which rushes along in the wind: it 
can penetrate into human beings and 
drive them crazy. 

Azi Dahaka (Avestan azi = snake, cf. 
Modern Farsi azidaha = dragon) A 
mythical figure which reaches back into 
the very earliest Indo-Aryan times. It was 
a snake-like monster with three heads, 
initially preying on cattle and an enemy 
of all good men. Subsequently it was 
seen as the usurper of the Iranian king- 
dom and the embodiment of falsehood. 
Temporarily conquered, he will present 
himself as a threat once more at the end of 
time as an accomplice of — > Ahriman, but 
then he will be defeated once and for all. 

Azizos and Monimos It is under these 
names that the morning star and the 
evening star were venerated in Syria; 
they were depicted as two boys with an 
eagle. The Neo-Platonist Iamblichos iden- 
tified Azizos with — > Ares. In Palmyra, 
the place of Monimos was taken by the 
god — > Arsu. 


Ba (1) This Egyptian word means 'the 
ram', and it is the name of the ram-god of 
Mendes in the sixteenth name of Lower 
Egypt. As a philoprogenitive god he was 
the object of veneration from women who 
wanted offspring. Ba the ram-god gradu- 
ally turns into Ba (see next entry), a man- 
ifestation of — > Re. In the Late Egyptian 
period, the god assumes the form of a 

Ba (2) (pi: Baw) Ancient Egyptian des- 
ignation for a spiritual power which 
Horapollon identifies with Psyche. In the 
oldest religious texts, anonymous gods 
who make occasional appearances are 
written with the signs for Ba; and later the 
word becomes a synonym for the mani- 
fested form of a god. The Apis bull is the 
Ba of — > Osiris, the star Sirius (Egyptian 
Sothis) is the Ba of — > Isis, and the 
Pharaoh is seen as the 'living soul' of the 
sun-god — > Re. 

Ba (3) Chinese goddess, a personifica- 
tion of drought. In some literary sources 
she is referred to as the daughter of the 
mythical Emperor — > Huang-di. 

Baal Storm-god and god of fecundity 
of the West Semites, represented both in 
human shape and as a bull. The word ba 7 
means 'owner, lord' and can be a generic 
term for gods in general. Thus, it is 
applied to various local deities, as, for 
example, Baal-Sidon or Baal-Lebanon; 
the Baal of Tyros was known as — > 
Melqart. — > Baal-Hadad occupied a cen- 
tral position in Syria as a whole. Belief in 
Baal came with the Hyksos to Egypt, 
where the god is specifically depicted as 
wearing a conical cap with a long band 

and bull's horns. Soon afterwards, Baal 
was identified with — > Seth. 

Baal-Addir ('mighty Baal') Initially 
the god of the Phoenician town of Byblos, 
whence his cult spread to Punic 
(Carthaginian) Africa, whether as a god 
of fertility or of the underworld is a moot 
point. Among African troops in the 
Roman army he was identified with 
Jupiter Valens. 

Baal-Biq'ah As 'lord of the plain' 
(between the Lebanon and the Anti- 
Lebanon) this was the deity after whom 
the town of Baalbek was named. Initially 
a weather-god (like — > BaalHadad) he 
became in the Hellenistic period a sky- or 
sun-god, and was identified with Zeus. 
Under the Romans he was regarded as 
Jupiter Heliopolitanus (by then, Baalbek 
was called Heliopolis, sun-city). 

28 Baal-Hadad 

Baal-Hadad Old Syrian god of storms 
and weather; the name means 'Lord of the 
thunder'. The Babylonian counterpart of 
Baal-Hadad was —¥ Adad. As weather- 
god his epithet was 'cloud-rider', in his 
capacity as a warrior he was called 
'Prince Baal' and in stories about his 
death and resurrection he was given the 
title 'prince and lord of the earth'. His 
symbol was the bull, the emblem of fertil- 
ity. According to Ugaritic texts, Baal 
dwelt on the Sapan mountain and hence is 
also known as Baal Sapan. His chief ene- 
mies are — > Jamm (sea) and — > Mot 
(death). A stele at Ras Shamra shows the 
gods bearing in his hands a club and the 
symbol of lightning. 

Baal-Hamon The earliest known ref- 
erence to this god occurs in an inscription 
found at the Phoenician settlement of 
Zindsirli. The name is taken to mean 'lord 
of the censer altars'. He is known chiefly 
as the supreme god of Carthage, whence 
he was introduced to Malta, Sicily and 
Sardinia. In North Africa, he was revered 
mainly as a god of fertility, a role attested 
in the epithet given him in Roman times - 
Frugifer ('fruit-bearer'). The sacrifice of 
children played a part in his cult obser- 
vances, both in Sicily and in North Africa. 
Owing to the similarity between his name 
and that of the oasis god — * Ammon, he 
was also regarded as an oracular god. The 
Greeks identified him with —¥ Kronos, 
the Romans with —> Saturnus. 

Baal-Karmelos ('lord of Kamid') A 
Canaanite god revered on Mount Carmel. 
In I Kings: 18, 19 ff. it is related how the 
prophet Elijah challenged the priests of 
Baal to conjure up a burnt sacrifice with- 
out fire. This mountain god was also 
known to speak in oracles, and was still 
being venerated in Roman times, e.g. by 
the Emperor Vespasian. 

Baal-Marqod ('Lord of the dance') 
Old Syrian god, who had a shrine devoted 
to him in the neighbourhood of the mod- 
ern city of Beirut. A curative well associ- 
ated with him indicates that he was a god 
of healing. In Greek guise he appears on 
votive tablets as Balmarkos. In Roman 
parlance he was identified with — > Jupiter. 

Baal-Qarnain ('Lord of the two horns') 
A Punic god so called after two mountain 
peaks close to the Gulf of Tunis. He was 
represented as — > Saturnus, and called 
Saturnus Balcarnensis. It seems likely 
that he was a local manifestation of — ¥ 

Baal-Samem (Baal-Sammin) The 
Phoenician name means 'Lord of 
Heaven', which would accordingly sug- 
gest a celestial deity. His cult was wide- 
spread (ancient Syria, North 
Mesopotamia, Cyprus, Carthage). He is 
represented on Seleucid coinage bearing 
a half-moon on his brow and carrying 
in one hand a sun with seven rays. The 
Romans called him Caelus (sky). 

Baal Sapon Canaanite god, so called 
after Mount Sapon in Northern Palestine. 
In Ugarit he was called Baal Sapan, and 
as the conqueror of the sea-god — > Jamm 
he functions as the protector of mariners. 

Baba (1) (Bau) Sumerian tutelary god- 
dess of the city of Lagas. Daughter of the 
sky-god — > An, and spouse of the god of 
fertility — > Ningirsu. Probably she was 
initially a Mother Goddess ('Mother 
Baba') and from Old Babylonian times 
onwards she was known as a goddess of 
healing ('female doctor of the black- 
headed'), and is often equated with — > 
Gula. King Gudea praised her as 'mistress 
of abundance'. 

Baba (2) In Hungarian popular belief, 
initially a being similar to a fairy who grad- 
ually took on the lineaments of a witch. 

Balarama 29 

Baba-Yaga Witch in East European 
folktales, also known as Jezi-Baba. 
Sometimes she appears as a forest 
spirit, sometimes as the leader of a host 
of spirits, in which capacity she acquires 
demonic status. One White Russian tradi- 
tion describes her as travelling through 
the air in an iron kettle with a fiery 

Babi A demon of darkness mentioned 
in the Egyptian Books of the Dead. He is 
probably represented in Greek incanta- 
tional papyri by the name Bapho, a name 
used for — > Seth. In Plutarch we find an 
associate of Seth - or perhaps Seth him- 
self- named Bebon. 

Bacab The gods of the four heavenly 
directions in Maya religion. Their names 
and their associated colours were: Kan 
(yellow), — > Chac (red), Zac (white) and 
Ek (black). 

Bacax A deity revered by the ancient 
Berbers; he was supposed to dwell in a 
cave at the entrance of which sacrificial 
offerings were to be made. 


Roman god of fertility and of wine. The 
Latin name is derived from the Greek 
Bakchos (— > Dionysos) whose cult 

was implanted in Rome at a compara- 
tively early date. It was a secret cult, 
and its rites, die Bacchanalia, were 
marked not only by sexual excesses but 
by crimes of every description, so much 
so that from time to time the cult was 
prohibited. The most significant portrayal 
of Dionysiac mysteries is to be found in 

Badb (Bodb) Irish goddess of war. The 
battle-field is called after her 'land of 
Badb'. She was supposed often to take 
the form of a crow. At the mythical battle 
of Mag Tured it was she who decided 
the day. 

Baga Old Persian designation for God, 
etymologically connected with Sanskrit — > 
bhaga. — > Ahura Mazda is baga vazraka, 
'the great god'; while -> Mithra is simply 
called baga. In Parthian usage, the word 
baga could also signify a dynastic god. 

Bagvarti A goddess venerated by the 
Urartians, an ancient people who lived in 
what is now Armenia. She was the spouse 
of the Urartian tutelary god Haldi. 

Bahram A Persian god, sometimes 
identified as the regent of the planet 
Mars, sometimes identical with — > 
Verethragna as god of the wind. 

Baiame The supreme being in the reli- 
gion of the Wiradyuri and Kamilaroi peo- 
ples in Australia. The name means 
'creator' or 'the great one', and women 
refer to him as 'our father'. He created 
first himself and then all other things 
and beings. Baiame sits in heaven on a 
throne, he is invisible and is audible only 
in thunder. His son is — > Daramulun. 

Balarama ('the powerful Rama') A 
god of agriculture whose cult reaches 
back to the very earliest times in India. 
His attribute is the plough, and he was 
regarded as the elder brother of — > Krisna. 

30 Balder 

Balder (Old Icelandic: Baldr; Modern 
Icelandic: Baldur) North German god; 
in the Edda he is described as handsome, 
brave and gentle, and of shining appear- 
ance. He is the son of — > Odin and of — > 
Frigg, and the benevolent opponent of the 
evil — > Loki, who induces the blind — > 
Hodur to shoot a branch of mistletoe at 
him, thus killing him (mistletoe being the 
only thing that could harm him). The ety- 
mology of his name is not clear, and there 
are accordingly several different interpre- 
tations of his function; thus he is vari- 
ously seen as a god of light and as a god 
of vegetation - that is, as a god who dies 
and is resurrected. Again, he has been 
seen as a hypostatis of the war-god Odin, 
an interpretation depending on equation 
of his name with the Old Norse adjective 
baldr = courageous, bold. 

Bali Indian demon: in the second 
world-age (kalpa) he ruled over all three 
worlds but had to yield sovereignty over 
earth and heaven to — > Visnu. Ever since, 
he has been ruler of the underworld. 
According to the Mahabharata, Bali, 
enemy of the gods, lives in the shape of an 
ass in a dilapidated hut. 

Baltis An Ancient Arabian goddess 
venerated at Carrhae in north-west 
Mesopotamia. She was identified with 
the planet Venus. 

Bandara (more accurately, Bandara 
deviyo) Originally, the title of high 
officials in the Singhalese kingdom, 
thereafter the designation of a group of 
gods superior to the — > Yaksas. Often 
chief local deities are called simply 
Bandara. The group includes, among 
others, — » Dadimunda. 

Bangputys Lithuanian god of the sea, 
whose name means 'he who blows the 
waves'. In a folksong he is called simply 
'god of the waves'. 

Barastir (Barastaer) The ruler of the 
world of the dead among the Ossetians 
(Caucasus). His function is to direct the 
dead souls, as they arrive, to their places 
in paradise or in the underworld. 

Bardha ('the white ones') In Albanian 
popular belief, whitish nebulous figures 
who dwell under the earth. They may be 
compared with the — > Elves. To propitiate 
them, one strews cakes or sugar on the 

Barsamin Old Armenian god, possibly 
a sky-god. It seems likely that he was 
taken over from the Syrian pantheon, and 
is probably identical with — > Baal-Samen. 

Basajaun ('Lord of the forest') A 
Basque spirit dwelling in the woods or in 
caves high up in the hills. He protects 
flocks and herds. In Basque tradition he 
plays the part of a cultural initiator who 
instructs mankind in the art of agricul- 
ture, and from whom they copy forging 
and working in wrought iron. 

Basamum A god worshipped in 
ancient south Arabia. His name may come 
from Arabic basam = balsam bush. This 
suggests that he was a god of healing, a 
hypothesis strengthened by the fact that 
one ancient text relates how he cured two 
wild goats or ibexes. 

Bastet An Egyptian goddess, inter- 
preted as a personification of ointment. At 
an early period she was visualized in the 
shape of a lion, and this led to her coales- 
cence with the leonine — > Sachmet. In line 
with the syncretism typical of Egyptian 
religion she was seen as the 'eye of — > Re' 
and coupled with — > Tefnut. From the 
New Kingdom onwards, Bastet is increas- 
ingly represented as having the head of 
a cat. Memphitic tradition makes her 
the mother of the god of embalming — > 
Anubis. The centre of her cult was 

Behedti 31 

Bubastis, and hence we find even classical 
authors calling her Bubastis. 

Bata Taurine god, tutelary deity of the 
seventeenth nome of Upper Egypt. He is 
known from the New Kingdom legend of 
the two brothers. 


Initially, a personification, current in Asia 
Minor, of female fecundity. According to 
Orphic (Greek) tradition she is an old 
woman, who makes the grieving — > 
Demeter laugh by showing her her 
pudenda. The obscene gesture is to be 
understood as a protective charm against 
the powers of death. As a demon, Baubo 
was visualized as headless or with her 
head placed between her legs. The name 
has been variously interpreted as meaning 
'belly', 'hole', 'womb'. 

Ba Xian ('The Eight Immortals') In 
Chinese popular belief there are many 
men and women whose way of life sets 
them far apart from others, so much 
so that they can lead a happy life on 
earth which never ends: these are xian. 
A particularly well known group of xian 
is formed by the 'Eight Immortals' 
who are partly historical personages, 

partly legendary in nature. Their symbols 
and attributes are in common use 
as lucky charms. Their names are: —> 
Cao Guo-jiu, —> Han Xiang-zi, — > He 
Xian-gu, — > Lan Cai-he, — > Li Tie-guai — > 
Lii Dong-bin, — ¥ Zhang Guo-lao, and — > 
Zhong-li Quan. 

Bebellahamon North Arabian 

(Palmyran) god in whom scholars have 
seen a variant of the Punic — > Baal- 

Beelzebub (Beelzebul) The well- 
known derivation from 'baal-zebub', i.e. 
lord of the flies, is not proven; it is more 
probable that the name means 'Baal the 
prince', thus corresponding to the 
Phoenician concept of the god. He was a 
tutelary god in the land of the Philistines 
(II Kings 1: 2). Rabbinical texts inter- 
preted the name as meaning 'Lord of the 
dunghill'; the word zabal = to dung, is 
used in rabbinical literature as a synonym 
for idolatry. In the New Testament, 
Beelzebub is chief of the demons 
(Matthew 12: 24-27). 

Befana In popular belief in north Italy, 
a female demon of midwinter. She brings 
presents - but she can also turn nasty and 
may turn up as a ghost. In some ways she 
reminds us of the — ¥ Bercht in German 
popular belief. The name Sefana (or 
Befania) comes from Epiphany, the feast 
of the Magi (6 January). 

Beg-tse (Tibetan beg-ce = hidden shirt 
of mail) God of war in Lamaism. He is 
clad from head to foot in mail, and he car- 
ries a garland of human heads and a 
crown in the shape of a skull. He often 
appears under the name of ICam-srin. 

Behanzin A fish-god venerated in 

Behedti This god, who took the form 
of a crouching falcon, was venerated in 

32 Behemoth 

the Egyptian town of Behdet (Edfu). Very 
early on he became a local form of the 
great falcon-god — > Horus. The proper 
symbol of the solar deity is the disc of the 
sun, fitted with a pair of wings. Behedti 
also takes over the role of the king identi- 
fied with Horus. From the Middle 
Kingdom onwards, the sun-disc became 
a widespread symbol of protection. 

Behemoth (Hebrew behema = animal) 
A designation of the hippopotamus 
(Job 40). In Jewish eschatology it figures as 
an apocalyptic beast; and in the Christian 
Middle Ages it was identified with — > 
Satan, and patristic authority was invoked 
to prove it. Perhaps we may also see a relic 
of Behemoth in the allegedly secret figure 
of Baphomet, whose symbolic presence the 
Knights Templar are said to have venerated 
and kissed upon entry to the Order. If this is 
indeed so, then the name does service here 
as a cover-name for the true God. 

Beher Ethiopic sea-god, often named 
in conjunction with — > Astar. 

Bel (1) This Akkadian word means 
'Master' and is a component in more than 
one divine name. In later times, the word 
Bel came to be used for the god — > 
Marduk, and this applies to the Biblical 
passages involving his name as well (e.g. 
Jeremiah 46: 1; Daniel 14: 3). In a Greek 
version of the Babylonian creation myth 
he is called Belos. 

Bel (2) The supreme god of Palmyra, 
whose name was originally Bol (from 
Semitic Baal?); Bol seems to have turned 
into Bel {—¥ Bel) under Babylonian influ- 
ence. He was a sky-god and his attributes 
included lightning flashes and an eagle. He 
formed a trinity along with the moon-god 
(— » Aglibol) and the sun-god (— > Yarhibol). 

Belenus A Celtic god revered espe- 
cially in the eastern Alpine area, though 

his cult extended into north Italy and 
south Gaul. The root £>e/-probably means 
'shine', which would suggest that 
Belenus was a god of light. In Aquileia, 
the god was presented as — > Apollon. 

Beletseri A Babylonian goddess who 
figures as 'book-keeper' and 'clerk' of the 
underworld. As the underworld is circum- 
scribed as 'steppe', she is also known by 
the epithet 'Queen of the steppe'. She is 
the spouse of the nomad god — > Martu. 

Belial Also Beliar ('the unholy one', 
'the worthless one'). Wicked men are 
specifically described in the Old Testament 
as 'men of Belial' (2 Samuel 16: 7). In 
Psalm 18: 5 the word is used in the phrase 
'floods of ungodly men' (nachalei belial), 
usually rendered in Catholic Bible transla- 
tions as 'streams of the devil'. Satan, the 
devil, is clearly intended in the reference in 
2 Corinthians 6: 15, and similarly in pas- 
sages in the Qumran texts: Belial is the 
spirit (and the prince) of darkness. 

Bel i I i Old Mesopotamian goddess, 
probably a denizen of the underworld. She 
was a sister of the god of vegetation — > 
Dumuzi. Several attempts have been made 
to derive the Biblical figure of — > Belial 
from her. 

Bellona (1) Cappadocian goddess 
(Asia Minor) who was given a role in 
the retinue of the Mother Goddess 
(-> Kybele). 

Bellona (2) Roman goddess of war: 
more precisely, a personification of war. 
Her name comes from the Latin helium = 
war. On occasion she figures as the 
spouse of — > Mars. 

Bendis Virgin, arms-bearing goddess 
of the Thracians; equated by the Greeks 
with — > Artemis, sometimes with — > 
Hekate. Her cult was introduced into 
Athens in the time of Pericles. 

Beset 33 

Beng A gipsy name for the devil. He 
often engages God in a trial of strength, 
but is always beaten. He dwells in the 
woods and prefers to go about his shady 
business by night. 


In Japan, the Buddhist goddess of elo- 
quence and music, patron saint of the 
geishas, and reckoned as one of the 
seven — » Shichi-Fukujin, the gods of 
good luck. She is represented wearing a 
jewelled diadem and holding in her hands 
a stringed instrument. Her name is some- 
times written as Benzaiten. 

Bercht Perchta is an alternative form, 
and she is also called Frau Berta or 
Eisenberta. As a midwinter spirit she goes 
back to pre-Christian times in Germany; 
but with the coming of Christianity she 
became the personification of the night 
preceding Epiphany (6 January) called 
perahtun naht in Old High German. She 
appears in various guises: as Butzenbercht, 
the bringer of gifts, as 'Spinnstubenfrau' 
(spinning-room woman) who visits houses 
by night, and then again as 'stomach- 
slasher', 'bogey-woman'. Traces of the cult 
once surrounding her still survive: thus, in 

some Alpine districts it is customary to 
place food for her on the roof on 
Perchtentag (Epiphany). The — > Perchten 
are called after her. 

Berekyndai In Phrygia, 
attendants of the Magna 


the divine 
Mater (-> 

In ancient Egypt, a half-demonic half- 
divine figure which occurs also in the plu- 
ral. The Bes has a grotesque face and 
a dwarfish body. To begin with, he carried 
a lion-skin on his back, of which only the 
ears and the tail survived into later times. 
His most important attributes are the 
Sanoose (a symbol of protection), knives 
as defensive weapons and musical instru- 
ments whose sounds scare off evil spirits. 

Beset A female —> Bes, belief in 
whom was particularly widespread in the 
time of the Ptolemies. The lion's tail is 
missing from her attributes; instead she 
has a crown of feathers. Like Bes, her 
function is apotropaic. 

34 Bestla 

Bestla In the Edda, the daughter of the 
giant Bolthorn, and the mother of the god 
— > Odin. Her name is interpreted as mean- 
ing 'giver of bast', which would identify 
her as a goddess of the yew tree; alterna- 
tively as 'tree-bark', a reading which 
would made Odin a god born from a tree. 

Bethel The word really means 'the 
house of God', but it is found as a divine 
name in Canaan. There is an identical 
place-name in the Old Testament (Genesis 
31: 13) which has certainly nothing to do 
with the non-Biblical god. On the other 
hand, the reference in Jeremiah 48: 13 is 
probably to the god Bethel. 

Bhaga (Sanskrit 'dispenser'; Iranian 
baga = god) In the Vedic religion, one 
of the — ¥ Adityas. He is invoked as a giver 
of good fortune and prosperity, and in 
addition he is the god of marriage, to 
whom the month of spring is dedicated. 

Bhagavan (Bhagwan: Sanskrit = the 
exalted one, the sublime one) In the 
Indian Bhagavata sect a designation for 
the supreme god, later identified with the 
god — > Visnu and with his incarnation — > 
Krisna. Certain aboriginal tribes in India, 
like the Bhil, have taken over the Sanskrit 
word — ¥ Bhagwan, as the name of their 
highest god. 

Bhagwan Supreme god of the Bhil 
people (in north-west Central India). 
Bhagwan was originally alone, but then 
he created the other gods and made them 
bearers of light. He is known by other 
names such as Parmesar ('the highest') 
and Andate ('Giver of corn'). He is also 
judge of the dead. 

Bhairava (Sanskrit = the terrible one) 
This Indian god is regarded as an emana- 
tion of — > Siva having been born from the 
space between Siva's eyebrows. He is 
endowed with four or six arms and a 

fierce visage with protruding canine 
teeth; he is festooned with snakes, and he 
carries a garland of skulls and a bowl full 
of blood. His sacred animal is the dog, 
and he often rides on one. Bhairava is 
regarded as a heavenly watchman, and it 
is customary to offer him small figures of 
dogs made out of sugar. 

Bhaisajyaguru ('Master of medicine') 
A — ¥ Buddha of the healer's art, who 
makes his appearance as early as the 
fourth century AD. He is probably a deifi- 
cation of — > Gautama Buddha in his 
capacity as medicine-man. His paradise 
lies in the east and is floored with lapis 
lazuli. In China he is called Yao-xi, in 
Japan Yaku-shi. He is usually shown hold- 
ing in his right hand the bitter medicinal 
fruit of die myrobalan. 

Bhavanavasin One of the four main 
categories of gods in Jainism; they dwell 
in the upper regions of the underworld, in 
a place 'gleaming with jewels'. 

Bhima (Sanskrit = the terrible one) 
Several aboriginal Indian tribes have 
taken this name from Hindu mythology to 
designate a god who seems to be associ- 
ated with sky and weather. 

Bhrkuti A female deity in the 
Buddhist pantheon. She has one head and 
four arms, she is yellow in colour and 
young. With her right hands she makes 
the gesture signifying that a wish has 
been granted, and holds a garland of 
roses; in her left hands she holds her 
attributes - the triple staff (the three 
staves bound together which a Brahman 
could carry to show he had renounced the 
world) and a waterpot. She is located on 
the moon and bears on her head the like- 
ness of —¥ Amitabha. 

Bhutadamara ('Lord of the demons') 
One of the grim and terrible gods in 

Bonchor 35 

Buddhism. He has one head and four arms; 
he is of dire appearance, and his three eyes 
are underlined in red. He is black in hue, 
but that does not prevent him from shining 
like a thousand suns. Eight snakes adorn 
him, and his crown is decorated with five 
skulls. It is his duty and function to hold all 
demons in check; and he even tramples on 
the god — > Aparajita. 

Bhutas In India, a designation for 
demons who can assume the most var- 
ied assortment of shapes - horses, pigs, 
giants, etc. 

Bia A child of the queen of the Greek 
underworld, — > Styx, and the constant 
companion of — > Zeus. His name (bia = 
power, strength) suggests that he may be 
no more than a hypostatization of the 
father of the gods. 



Bilwis (Middle High German pilwiz) 
In the earliest references to him, in texts 
from Bavaria and Austria, he appears as a 
nature spirit who uses a sort of missile to 
cure illnesses. At the end of the Middle 
Ages, however, there is a switch in mean- 
ing, and the erstwhile demonic creature 
turns into a magician, or even a female 
witch. Bilwis is also known in east 
Germany, where he appears as a man 
endowed with demonic powers and with 
sickles attached to his feet; at night he 
cuts narrow strips into corn-fields (hence 
'Bilmesschneider', Bilmes-cutter), or 
chooses some other way to rob the farmer 
of part of his crops. Today, in popular 
belief, he is little more than a bogeyman. 

Binbeal -» Bunjil 

Bisham -> Shichi-Fukujin 

Bochica Culture-hero of the Muisca 
Indians in Colombia. He gave his people 
laws and taught them handicrafts. His 

figure finally coalesced with that of the 

Bodhisattva In Buddhism a being 
(sattva) intent on achieving enlighten- 
ment (bodhi). The Chinese term is Pu-sa, 
the Japanese Bo-satsu. Bodhisattva is the 
— > Buddha to be, whose compassion for 
humanity is so great that at times he 
renounces achievement of Buddhahood. 
Originally, this was taken to mean no 
more than the historical Buddha before 
his enlightenment, but in die sequel the 
number of Bodhisattvas became infinite 
thanks to the concept of 'future Buddhas'. 
They are heavenly beings who bring sal- 
vation (for example — > Avalokitesvara, 
and — > Mafijusrl), who are worshipped in 
ceremonial ritual and who are invoked in 
any and every case of need or distress. 
The eight 'great Bodhisattvas' are called 
Mahabodhisattvas. Iconographically the 
Bodhisattvas are shown robed as princes 
and bearing a five-leaved crown. 

Boldogasszony (also known as Kis- 
boldogasszony or Nagyboldogasszony) 
Virgin goddess of the ancient Hungarians, 
'the great and rich queen' whose milk is 
holy. She is the protector of mother and 
child. With the coming of Christianity, 
she was transformed into the figure of the 
Virgin Mary as the 'divine princess', the 
'queen', the mother of the Hungarian 

Bo I la A demonic snake-like being in 
Albanian popular belief; called Bullar in 
South Albania. It is only on St George's 
day that it opens its eyes, and if it should 
then see a human being it will devour 
him. After twelve years the Bulla turns 
into the fearsome — > Kulshedra. 

Bonchor A god once worshipped by 
the ancient Berbers in what is now north 
Tunisia. He may possibly have corre- 
sponded to the Roman god — > Jupiter. 

36 Bor(r) 

Bor(r) In Germanic myth the son of — > 
Bur, and father of the gods — > Odin, — > 
Vili and Ve. No cult of any kind was 
attached to him. 

Boreas In Greek mythology, the per- 
sonification of the harsh north wind. He 
surprises Oreithyia, the daughter of the 
King of Athens, at play and abducts her to 
his homeland in Thrace. When a Persian 
war fleet was decimated in a violent 
storm, Boreas achieved cult status in 
Athens and was duly worshipped. 

Borvo A Gallic god. The root of his 
name (bor) is supposed to signify 'boil', 
'bubble', and the god himself is associ- 
ated with curative mineral springs. 

Bragi (Old Icelandic bragr = the most 
distinguished) North German god of 
the art of poetry. He is first mentioned in 
late texts, and this has prompted the sus- 
picion that he is in fact an historically 
attested Skald of the same name, who was 
subsequently promoted to mythological 
status. No cult seems to have been 
attached to his name; — ¥ Idun is men- 
tioned as his wife. 


This is properly the masculine form of the 
Sanskrit word brahman, and it designates 
the personification of — » Brahman in 
Indian religion. Originally, Brahma was 
regarded as the head of the — > Trimurti: 
he was creator and director of the world, 
and he was the supreme god of the 
Devadeva (the gods). He was pictured 
with four heads and in his four hands he 
holds the four Vedas, the holy scriptures 
of ancient India. Among his other attrib- 
utes are a vessel containing water from 
the Ganges, and a garland of roses; he 
rides on a Hamsa (i.e. a goose) which 
becomes, by poetic licence, a swan. His 
spouse is — > Sarasvatl. In recent times, the 
figure of Brahma has lost much of its for- 
mer prestige. He is now god of wisdom 
and progenitor of the Brahmins. An epi- 
thet used frequently in connection with 
him is Kamalasana - 'he who sits on the 

Brahman (Sanskrit neuter noun) 
Originally this word designated the Vedic 
magic incantation or sacred formula; then 
it came to mean the power inherent in the 
utterance, the power which enables the 
gods to perform their mythic functions 
and which enables the Vedic priests 
(Brahmans) to undertake the sacred rites. 
Finally, in the Upanisads, this holy power 
becomes the omnipotent, indeed the cre- 
ative principle, the original cosmic 
ground, the world-soul. One text 
describes Brahman as the 'wood' from 
which heaven and earth are built. In the 
Satapatha-Brahmana, Brahman is con- 
strued as a personal and supernatural 

Bress Irish god of fertility. According 
to the myth, he is a son of the King of 
Fomore, but is adopted by the — > Tuatha 
De Danann. In the sequel, Bress himself 
becomes king and oppresses the Tuatha 
De Danann, until the latter win in a final 

Buddha 37 

decisive battle. Bress won freedom from 
the gods, thanks to his services in 
instructing the people of Ireland in the art 
of agriculture. 

Brhaspati (also found as Brahmanaspati 
= Lord of prayer) Vedic god, who for- 
wards the prayers of human beings to the 
gods. He is 'born from the great light in 
the highest heaven' and he drives dark- 
ness away with roars from his sevenfold 
mouth. In Vedic mythology he appears as 
the protector of cows, and as the regent of 
the planet Jupiter; in this latter capacity 
he is pictured as golden-yellow and bear- 
ing a staff, a garland of prayers (a prayer- 
ring) and a water-pot. 

Brigantia A goddess (of victory?) 
known from inscriptions found in Britain. 
Her name is derived from the Celtic word 
brig (= hill, height), which is also the 
root of the name of the Brigantes, who 
lived in what is now Wales. The goddess 
may be connected with the Irish — > Brigit, 
but this is not certain. 

Brigit (Irish brig = power, authority) 
Daughter of the god — ¥ Dagda, and 
patroness of smiths, poets and doctors. 
She was associated with the ritual fires of 
purification, and the feast of Imbolc, on 
1 February, was in her honour. Later, she 
was taken over by Christian hagio-graphy 
and was venerated in Kildare as the 
holy Brigit, who was supposed to tend the 
holy fire along with 19 nuns. 

Britomartis A virgin goddess peculiar 
to Crete, who later on merged with the 
figure of — > Artemis. The pre-Greek 
name was interpreted in late classical 
times as meaning something like 'sweet 

Buchis The holy bull venerated in the 
ancient Egyptian town of Hermonthis, 
near Thebes. He was supposed to be the 

'living image' of the god — > Month, 
though he also figured as the herald of the 
sun-god — > Re. His brood-cows were 
regarded as holy in their capacity of 
'those who gave birth to Re'. The bull was 
characterized by a white body and a black 


(Sanskrit 'the awakened one', 'the 
enlightened one') The designation of 
one who has attained illumination or 
enlightenment (bodhi), the highest aim in 
Buddhism. The Buddha can be recog- 
nized by 32 cardinal and 80 secondary 
bodily characteristics: e.g. on the sole of 
each foot is a wheel with a thousand 
spokes. The most important Buddha is the 
historical one (— > Gautama Buddha). 
Three or six Buddhas are supposed to 
have lived before him, and he will be fol- 
lowed by the fifth Buddha (—¥ Maitreya). 
No less than 54 Buddhas are mentioned in 
the 'Lalitavistara', and their number 
becomes infinite in later tradition. The 
five — > Dhyani-Buddhas form a special 
group. Once a Buddha has entered 

38 Buddhakapala 

Nirvana he ceases to have any sort of rela- 
tionship with the world and he can no 
longer be reached even by prayer. In 
Hinduism, Buddha is reckoned to be the 
ninth Avatara of — » Visnu, he who intro- 
duces the present age of decadence. The 
Chinese name for Buddha is — > Fo; the 
Japanese is Butsu. 

Buddhakapala ('Buddha-skull') A 
god in Tantrism, similar to — ¥ Heruka. He 
is of powerful build, bluish-black in 
colour, has one face and four arms, and is 
festooned with bones. As attributes he 
carries a knife, an hour-glass drum, a 
cudgel and a cranium. His female partner - 
his prajna - is shown embracing him. 

Budha In India, the regent of the 
planet Mercury. He is regarded as the son 
of the moon-god (— > Soma); he wears yel- 
low garments and carries yellow garlands. 
His attributes are the sword, the shield 
and the club, and he rides on a lion. 

Bukura e dheut ('the beauty of the 
earth') Old fairy-like creature in 
Albanian folklore and folk-tale. She is 
always ready to help, and so powerful that 
she can undertake tasks that would nor- 
mally be the province of God or of an 
angel. Her castle is guarded by all sorts of 
weird and wonderful creatures. She often 
develops a demonic dimension and is 
then in touch with the underworld. 

Bukuri i qiellit ('the beautiful one in 
heaven') A designation for God which 
is current in Christian circles in Albania. 
It goes back to ancient Illyrian times, 
when three gods divided themselves into 
heaven, ocean and underworld. 

Bulaing Female divinity of creation in 
the religion of the Australian Karadjeri. 
She is an immortal being living in heaven, 

who has created all things and all crea- 
tures. The word bulaing is also used to 
denote the mythical serpents. 

Buluga (also Puluga) The supreme 
god of the Negritos on the Andaman 
Islands. He is regarded as immortal, 
omniscient and invisible, he has created 
the world and mankind, and sees to it that 
his commandments are obeyed. His 
female counterpart, the supreme being of 
female sex, lives in the northern part of 
the archipelago; she is called Biliku. The 
wind is supposed to be Buluga 's breath, 
and his voice is heard in the thunder. 

Bumba Supreme being, creator and 
progenitor of the Boshongo, a Bantu tribe 
in Africa. In the beginning, he was alone; 
there was then nothing except darkness 
and water. Then Bumba was smitten by 
agonizing stomach pains, and he spat out 
the sun, the moon and, finally, living 
creatures. Mankind came last of all. 

Bunjil (Bundjil — falcon) The 

supreme being of the Australian Kulin. 
This being formed the first humans, and it 
blew its breath into their mouths until 
they began to stir. It is not usual to refer to 
this being by name; usually it is called 
'our father'. Its son is Binbeal, the rain- 
bow. In the Karnai tribe, only initiates 
know of Bunjil's existence. 

Bur(i) A mythical primeval being in 
the religious system of the Germanic 
tribes. He was the first man and the pro- 
genitor of the gods. He came forth from 
a salty block of ice when the primeval cow 
Audhumla licked it. His son is — > Bor. 

Burijas A god of the Kassites who 
attacked Babylonia in the sixteenth century 
BC. He was called 'Lord of lands'. 


God C A Maya god whose name is 
unknown. He was connected with the first 
day of creation (Chuen) and may well 
have been an astral deity (the Polar Star or 

Caca Roman goddess, sister of — ¥ 

Cacus Originally a pre-Roman god of 
fire, whose cult at the Palatine was ousted 
by the Greek hero Euandros. Cacus was 
then seen as the son of — > Vulcanus: 
a fire-spitting fiend who lived in a cave 
on the Aventine Hill and slew passers-by. 

Cagn Chief god of the Bushmen in 
South Africa. He was the first being, at 
whose command all things arose. He 
created the animals to serve man. 

Cai-Shen The Chinese god of riches. 
He has been identified at different times 
with various historical personalities. He is 
said to have been a hermit endowed with 
supernatural powers; thus he was able to 
ride on a black tiger. 

Cakravartin ('he who turns the wheel') 
An appellation for a world ruler in Indian 
Buddhism. His birth and his youthful 
years are closely similar to those of a — > 
Buddha, and like a Buddha he has 32 car- 
dinal characteristics on his body. He is the 
lord of the wheel (cakra) which symbol- 
izes the Teaching. A Cakravartin can only 
be born when there is no Buddha 
on the earth. According to Jainist teach- 
ing, a Cakravartin has 14 'jewels' {ratna): 
first and foremost a wheel, then a fell 
(pelt), a staff, a sunshade, a jewel, a conch, 
a woman, a sword, a general, a house- 
father, a master-builder, a priest, a steed 
and an elephant. 

Camaxtli Tribal god of the Chichimec. 
Originally an astral god, he became the 
Aztec god of hunting and of fate; on his 
body he bore the signs of the twenty days. 
In addition, he is the leader of warriors 
slain in battle or offered in human sacri- 
fice, whose souls become stars in the 
eastern sky. 

Camunda Hindu goddess, a manifes- 
tation of the terrible — » Durga. Her name 
seems to be derived from the names of 
two demons Canda and Munda, whom 
she is supposed to have slain. She is por- 
trayed as black or red in colour, and she is 
often seated upon a demon. Her vehicle is 
an owl, and she prefers to frequent grave- 

Candamius Old Hispanic god, whose 
name lives on in many place-names in 
central and north-west Spain. He was 
probably a mountain god who had celes- 
tial connections; he was claimed by the 
Romans as a variant of Jupiter. 

Candarosana (Candamaharosana = the 
angry and passionate one) One of the 
wild or unruly gods of Buddhism. He has 
one head and two arms, he squints, he has 
a big mouth with bared tusks. He carries 
a white snake as a sort of sacred cord, and 
he wears a tiger skin. His crown bears the 
image of — > Aksobhya. His right hand 
holds a sword; his left hand is placed over 
his heart and bears a snake. He is occa- 
sionally equated with — ¥ Acala. 

Candra (Sanskrit, candra = the shining 
or lovely one) Indian moon-god. He is 
white in colour and wears white gar- 
ments, and he drives a shining white char- 
iot, which is drawn by ten white horses or 

40 Cao Dai 

by a white antelope. In later times, Candra 
became merely another name for — > 

Cao Dai (Chinese Gao-tai = high ter- 
race) The supreme being in Caodaism, 
a syncretic religion which made its 
appearance in Vietnam as late as 1919. 
His symbol is an eye inscribed in a heart. 
He is regarded as creator and redeemer, 
and is identified both with Jehovah and 
with — > Yu-huang Shang-di, the supreme 
god of Taoism. 

Cao Guo-jiu One of the 'Eight 
Immortals' (—¥ Ba Xian). Tradition has it 
that to him riches and honours were no 
more than dust. He is patron saint of 
actors. His attributes are a pair of board- 
like castanets. 

Cariociecus Old Hispanic war-god, 
identified by the Romans with — > Mars. 

Caruincho — » Pariacaca 

Castor and Pollux The Latin names 
for — > Kastor and Polydeukes. 

Castur and Pultuce The Etruscan 
version of the — ¥ Dioskuroi, the pair of 
heavenly twins whom the Etruscans took 
over from the Greeks (— » Kastor and 
Polydeukes). In the Etruscan setting, the 
Dioskuroi coalesced with an older pair of 
twin brothers, the Tindaridai ('scions of 
— > Tin'). Their representation follows the 
classical iconographic model. 

Cath (Cautha) Etruscan sun-god, known 
also under the name of Usil (= sun?). He 
is uniquely represented as rising from the 
sea, bearing on his head the flaming disc 
of the sun; in each hand he holds a ball 
of fire. 

Caturmaharajas (Chinese tian wang) 
In Buddhist cosmogony these are the four 
great kings who guard and control the four 
quarters of the world; they correspond to 

the — > Lokapalas of Hinduism. They are 
enthroned on the invisible and holy 
world-mountain of Meru, whence they 
extend their protection to Buddhist 
truth (dharma) in all parts of the world. 
To begin with, they are regarded as 
benevolent beings, but with the rise of 
Tantrism they turn into warlike and 
menacing figures who inspire fear. The 
North is guarded by — > Vaisravana, the 
West by the red — > Virupaksa, the South 
by — > Virudhaka, and the East by — > 

Cautes and Cautopates Companions 
of the god —> Mithra, particularly associ- 
ated with him in the ritual slaughter of a 
bull. One has a raised, the other a lowered 
torch; and this has led scholars to see in 
them representatives of day and night, the 
onset of spring and of autumn, life and 
death. The etymology of the names is 


Fabulous creatures in Greek mythology; 
wild and half-animal, they had a human 
torso and the body of a horse. They dwelt 
in thick forests and in the mountains, and 
seem to have been nature demons of some 
kind. One of the best known Centaurs was 
— > Cheiron. 

Charon 41 

Ceres Old Italic goddess of agricul- 
ture, in religious observance closely con- 
nected with the earth goddess — > Tellus. 
Ceres was supposed to be the daughter of 
— > Saturn and of — > Ops. She causes liv- 
ing things to emerge from her bosom, into 
which they are gathered again after death. 
Like the Greek — > Demeter, she was also 
a goddess of fertility and of marriage: Her 
temple on the Aventine Hill was a central 
point for the plebs, the common people. 
Her feast, the Cerealia, was celebrated on 
19 April. 

Ceres Africana A North African god- 
dess of the harvest, mentioned by 
Tertullian. She is also known as Ceres 
Punica. The Latin name hides an 
autochthonous fertility goddess. 


A Celtic god who sits in the so-called 
Buddha attitude, his head adorned with 
a set of antlers. He is thus portrayed on 
the Gundestrup cauldron. His name has 
been taken to mean 'the horned one'. He 
seems to have been mainly concerned 
with fertility and with wealth, though he 
also seems to have been associated with 

the underworld. In a few cases he is por- 
trayed with coins. Cernunnos may in fact 
be a pre-Celtic god (game preservation?). 

Cghene Supreme being in the reli- 
gious belief of the Isoko in south Nigeria. 
Cghene is regarded as the creator and 
father of all Isoko; he is utterly remote 
and inaccessible, and has neither temple 
nor priests. There is however a mediator 
between him and mankind - a post or 
stake, carved from a tree (Oyise). 

Chac The rain-god of the Maya, corre- 
sponding to the Aztec — » Tlaloc. In addi- 
tion, he is one of the four gods who 
represent the four cardinal points or heav- 
enly directions (— > Bacab). His cult centres 
on the sacred well at Chichen Itza. 

Chalchihuitlicue (Chalchiuhtlicue = 
she who has the green cloak of jewels) 
Aztec goddess of flowing waters, the 
spouse of the raingod — > Tlaloc. She was 
also a goddess of vegetation, particularly 
concerned with causing the maize crops 
to flourish. Her attribute is a rattle on 
a stick; she has a watery-green shirt and 
coat which are adorned with water-lilies. 

Charites (Greek charein = to rejoice) 
In the beginning there was very probably 
only one Charis, the spouse of — > 
Hephaistos. As a trinity, the Graces 
appear first in Hesiod, where they are 
named: Aglaia (splendour), Euphrosine 
(cheerfulness) and Thaleia (blossom). In 
mythology and in art they appear in the 
retinue of — > Aphrodite or of — > Apollon, 
and bring beauty and pleasure to 
mankind. The — ¥ Horai are closely associ- 
ated with them. The — > Gratiae corre- 
spond to the Charites in the Roman 

Charon In Greek mythology the ferry- 
man who rows the dead over the border 
river (Acheron, Styx) to the underworld, 

42 Charontes 

and delivers them at the entrance to 
Hades. He is paid by putting a coin 
(obolos) in the mouth of the dead person. 
Originally, Charon was a demon of death 
in the shape of a dog. He persists in mod- 
ern Greek folklore as Charos, only now 
he rides a black horse which sweeps the 
dead along with it by means of its wooden 

Charontes Male and female demons 
of death in the Etruscan religion; they are 
most frequently shown bearing hammers. 
The name is derived from — > Charun. 

Charun A male demon in the under- 
world of the Etruscans. His attribute is 
a hammer which he carries on his shoul- 
der, or on which he supports himself. He 
has a nose like a vulture's, pointed animal 
ears and, often, snakes growing on his 
head instead of hair. Frequently he is 
shown with wings. Charun escorts the 
dead, and watches over the portals of 
graves. His name is connected with that 
of the Greek — > Charon. 

Chasca Coyllur In pre-Columbian 
Peru, the god of flowers and protector of 

Cheiron (Chiron, Greek cheir = hand) 
Originally a Thessalian god of the art of 
healing. He owes his name to his skill 
with his hands. In Greek mythology he is 
the son of — > Kronos, a wise — ¥ Centaur, 
well-disposed towards men, who instructs 
— > Asklepios in the curative skills. In his 
cave on Mount Pelion he reared many 
famous heroes (Achilles, for example) 
until finally he was struck by a poisoned 
arrow fired by — > Herakles, and voluntar- 
ily renounced his immortality in favour of 
— > Prometheus. 

Cheng-huang This Chinese designa- 
tion was originally applied to chthonic 
gods and subsequently transferred to 

local gods, tutelary deities who are 
responsible for a district and its inhabi- 
tants. The Cheng-huang are terrestrial 
gods in that they supervise districts, look 
after law and order and ward off danger. 

Chensit Goddess of the twentieth 
nome of Lower Egypt, who took the form 
of the uraeus snake and was then associ- 
ated with the tutelary deity — > Sopdu. She 
may be portrayed bearing either the crown 
of — > Hathor or the feather of — > Maat, 
or both. 

Chentechtai This is the Grecianized 
form of the Egyptian appellation Chenti- 
cheti. To begin with, he was a crocodile 
god but soon took on the form of a falcon; 
he is also connected with — > Kemwer, the 
black bull of Athribis. Finally he con- 
verges with — > Osiris, so much so that he 
is referred to as 'Osiris who dwells in 

Chenti-irti (Machenti-irti) A falcon- 
god venerated in the Egyptian city of 
Letopolis, who was identified with — > 
Horus as far back as the Old Kingdom. 
His main characteristic is that, in corre- 
spondence with the myth of the lost lunar 
or solar eye, he is conceived as having no 
eyes. As a judge, he looks after law and 

Chepre (Chepri) The appellation given 
to the scarab, the dung-beetle worshipped 
in Heliopolis in its aspect as primeval 
god. The scarab is then 'he who arose 
from himself, who came forth from the 
earth without any generative process. 
Very early on, he was taken as a manifes- 
tation of — > Atum, and finally equated 
with — > Re. The sun-god arises as Chepre, 
newly born from the underworld, and 
makes his appearance in the heavens. As 
a primeval god, Chepre can assume the 
shape of a snake; in human shape he is 
portrayed as bearing a scarab on his head. 

Chimaira 43 

Cherti A ram-god often mentioned on 
early Egyptian steles, who was venerated 
especially in the area of the town of 
Letopolis. In the Pyramid texts he is allot- 
ted the specific function of ferryman in 
the realm of the dead. 

Cherubim (Kerubim, connected with the 
Assyrian word karibu) Hybrid crea- 
tures, half-animal half-human, who appear 
in the Old Testament. They are presented 
as guardians of the sacral points round 
which Jewish life and belief centre: the 
Tree of Life, the Ark of the Covenant, the 
temple; and they indicate the presence of 
God. In the vision of Ezekiel they form the 
living chariot of — > Jahwe (Ezekiel 1 : 5 f.) 
In the book of Revelations they are 
described as 'beasts' and they stand around 
the throne of God (Revelation 4: 6 ff.) 
They are 'full of eyes before and behind' 
and this identifies them as cosmic beings, 
the eyes symbolizing the stars. According 
to a Christian interpretation which goes 
back to Dionysius Areopagita, the 
Cherubim are a particular class of angels. 

Cherufe A gigantic fabulous creature 
which eats men in the folk-lore of the 
Araucanian Indians who live in Chile and 
Argentina. It lives in volcanoes and feeds 
on young girls. 

Chia Appellation of the moon, and 
the name of the moon-goddess of the 
Muisca Indians who live in what is today 
Colombia; she is also their progenitor. 
The ruler of Muikita (known under the 
name of Zipa) is regarded as the terres- 
trial representative of the moon. 

Chicome coatl ('Seven snakes') Aztec 
goddess of foodstuffs; in particular, the 
giver of maize. Among her attributes are 
the maize cob and the ceremonial rattle 
(cf. — > Chalchihuitlicue). 

Chimaira (Greek = goat) A fabulous 
monster in Greek mythology: it has a lion's 
forequarters, the body is that of a goat 
(with a goat's head) and the tail is replaced 
by a snake. Homer tells us that the 
Chimaira is native to the coast of Lycia, 
and it is possible that it was originally 

44 Chinna-masta 

a demon symbolizing the Lycian 'earth- 
fire'. According to Vergil it lives at the 
entrance to the underworld. The monster 
was slain by the hero Bellerophon. 

Chinna-masta ('whose head is cut off': 
occurs also in the form Chinnamastaka) 
A terrifying goddess in Tantrism; she 
holds her own head in one hand, and the 
head's mouth opens to receive the blood 
that spurts from the gaping neck. The 
goddess is worshipped mainly in Bengal. 

Chnubis In Roman times a god com- 
bining Greek and Egyptian characteris- 
tics. He appears as — > Agathos Daimon, 
and as a gnostic — > Aion, and is portrayed 
as a snake with a lion's head which is usu- 
ally surrounded by a halo of rays. Some 
connection between Chnubis and — > 
Chnum is possible but not certain. 


(Chnumu) An Egyptian god in the 
shape of a ram; the name itself denotes 
a ram. He is portrayed as a man with a 
ram's head, the horns being horizontally 

aligned on each side. At Elephantine, 
Chnum was regarded as guardian of the 
source of the Nile and hence was donator 
of the life-giving waters. His main func- 
tion is a creative one: he fashions the bod- 
ies of children on a potter's wheel and then 
introduces them into the mother's womb. 
Hence his epithet: 'the sculptor who gives 
life'. In the Hellenistic age, he played the 
part of a god of revelations, and he appears 
in the literature of necromancy as Haruer- 
Chnuph - i.e. as a variant of — > Haroeris. 

Chons Egyptian moon-god, son of — > 
Amun and of — > Mut, with whom he forms 
the triad of Thebes. His name means 'he 
who fares through (the heavens)' - a refer- 
ence to his lunar character. As 'Lord of 
time' he converges with — > Thot, whose ibis 
head he sometimes adopts. He is usually 
represented as a young man in mummy 
posture with his legs close together, and 
with the crescent moon and the full moon 
on his head. In Thebes, Chons was equated 
with — > Su, and was regarded as bearer of 
heaven. One of his epithets is 'he who gives 
advice' (Greek Chespisichis). As Chons-Re 
he was seen as a form of the youthful sun- 
god, to whom one turned for protection 
against wild animals. 

Chontamenti (Chonti-amentiu) 

Egyptian god of the dead. His name means 
'he who is in the uttermost west': it is in 
the west that the sun goes down, and there 
too is the kingdom of the dead. The god is 
represented as a crouching dog or jackal. 
In the Pyramid texts we find a king wish- 
ing to be changed into Chontamenti so that 
he may be able to rule over the dead. 

Chors A god of the eastern Slavs, 
known from his being mentioned in the 
so-called Nestor Chronicle along with 
other sources. He was probably a sun- 
god. The etymology of the name is not 
clear. He seems to have been a sort of 
hybrid with a dog's head and horns. 

Cyclops 45 

Chronos Personification of time, often 
coincident in the late classical period with 
the figure of — > Aion. His portrayal as 
a bearded old man with sickle and hour- 
glass was particularly popular in the 
Renaissance and the Baroque periods. 

Cihuacoatl ('female snake') An earth- 
and mother-goddess venerated in the 
town of Colhuacan, often shown with 
a child in her arms. She it was who helped 
— > Quetzalcoatl when the first man was 
being created. Sometimes she coincides 
with the figure of — > Teteo. 

Cinteotl (Centeotl) Aztec god of 
maize, the most important plant in ancient 
Mexico. Cinteotl represents a specific 
aspect of — > Quetzalcoatl. 

Citipati ('Lord of the graveyard') 
Graveyard demons in Buddhism, espe- 
cially Tibetan Buddhism. They are repre- 
sented as two dancing skeletons. 

Coatlicue ('she who wears a skirt of 
snakes') Aztec goddess of earth and 
fire; she also appears as mother of the 
gods. Her statue in Mexico City shows, 
apart from the skirt of snakes, a head with 
two snakes and a necklace consisting of 
human hands and hearts: the latter in evi- 
dence of the need for human sacrifice if 
cosmic order is to be upheld. On her back 
hang 13 leather cords decorated with 
snails, symbolizing the mythical heaven. 
The goddess was made pregnant by a ball 
of down or an emerald, and gave birth to 
— > Quetzalcoatl. 

Concordia Roman goddess, personifi- 
cation of concord. When civil disputes 
were settled, shrines were dedicated to her. 
She is portrayed - e.g. on coins - as bear- 
ing a cornucopia and a sacrificial bowl. 

Confucius (Latin formation from 
Chinese Kong-(fu)-zi, 'Master Kong') 
Chinese philosopher. In the year 174 BC 

one of the Han Emperors made sacrifice 
to him for the first time at his grave, 
which is still extant today. Not long after- 
wards, the first Confucian temple was 
erected. Finally, in a decree issued in the 
closing years of the Chinese Empire (in 
1906) Confucius was placed on the same 
footing as the supreme deities of heaven 
and earth. Tradition has it that at his birth 
two dragons hovered over the home of his 

Consus ('he who gathers in') Roman 
god of the safely gathered harvest. He had 
an underground altar in a circus to the 
south of the Palatine Hill. By virtue of his 
chthonic character he was also connected 
with the dead. 

Culsu A female demon of the 
Etruscans, who stands at the portal of 
the underworld. Her attributes include 
a burning torch and a pair of scissors (for 
cutting the thread of life?). 

Cunda (also Candra or Cunti) A female 
deity in Buddhism, an emanation of the 
Buddha — > Vajrasattva, whose image she 
bears on her crown. She has one face, four 
arms, and she is white like the moon in 
autumn. One of her right hands is in 
the mudra of donation, and one of her 
left hands holds a lotus on which a book 
lies. The other pair of hands are holding 
a bowl. 

Curche Old Prussian god of fertility; 
he was also known as 'god of food and 

Cyclops (Greek Kyklopes = 'round 
eyes') In Homer, man-eating giants 
with one single eye in their foreheads. In 
Hesiod, they are the sons of — > Gaia, who 
forge thunderbolts for — > Zeus. Later, 
they came to be regarded as helpmates of 
— > Hephaistos, and denizens of volcanic 


God D No name is known for the Maya 
god thus designated in specialist litera- 
ture. He appears as ruler of the night and 
the moon, and is portrayed as an old man 
with sunken cheeks. Sometimes he is 
shown carrying the shell of a sea-snail on 
his head - a symbol of birth and life. 

Dabog A south Slavonic sun-god. The 
root bog can mean both 'riches' and 
'god'. In the epic poetry of the Serbians, 
Dabog appears as ruler over the earth. 
He is mentioned among the gods, statues 
to whom were erected in Kiev, and in 
the 'Song of Igor' we are told that the 
Russians are 'Dabog's grandchildren'. 
Under Christian influence, Dabog was 
reduced to playing the part of — ¥ Satan. 
The Poles have an equivalent in Dazbog. 

Dadimunda (or Devata bandara) One 
of the most popular gods of the 
Singhalese (Sinhala) people. To begin 
with, he was a god who looked after tem- 
ples, then he became 'treasurer' (devata) 
of the god — ¥ Upulvan, and finally he 
emerged as protector of Buddhism in 
Ceylon. He rides on an elephant, and 
there are many — ¥ Yaksas in his retinue. 

Daena This goddess, the daughter of 
— ¥ Ahura Mazda and of — ¥ Armaiti, is the 
personification of religion in the Old 
Iranian pantheon. The word daena means 
'that which has been revealed'. 

Daevas (Daiwa; Middle Persian Dev) 
An appellation for the gods in the Indo- 
Aryan period (cf. Sanskrit — ¥ Deva, devi). 
For Zarathustra, the daevas were, to begin 
with, simply the ancient gods, who were 
of no consequence in comparison with — ¥ 
Ahura Mazda; but later he came to regard 

them as fallen angels or as demons. They 
are black in colour and are active enemies 
of the true religion; they eat corpses and 
torture souls in hell. 


(Hebraized form: Dagon) A west 
Semitic god of corn. His name means 
'corn' but was confused by the Israelites 
with Hebrew dag = fish - hence the pic- 
tures of the fish-tailed god. In Ugarit, 
Dagan was regarded as father of Baal, and 
in the Old Testament he appears as the 
chief god of the Philistines (Judges 16: 
23ff). The Canaanites brought his cult to 
Mesopotamia, where he acquired — ¥ Salas 
as consort; from certain texts we may 
deduce that he was also equated with — ¥ 
Enlil. Dagan occupied a special position 
in the religion of the Amorites in Mari. 

Dagda An Old Irish god whose name 
means 'the good god'. He occupies a pre- 
dominant position in the race of gods 
known as the —¥ Tuatha De Danann. The 

Damgalnunna 47 

epithet associated with him - Ollathir - 
can be translated as 'All-father'. He is the 
god of contracts, and is equipped with 
three attributes: an enormous club which 
slays but which can also restore life; 
a magic harp on which a melody for 
sleep, a melody for laughter and a melody 
for woe can be played; and a cooking-pot 
from which no one is turned away hungry. 

Daho A Pyrenean deity in Roman 
times; what we know of his functions 
makes him comparable with — > Mars. 



Daimon In the Greek pantheon, the 
divine instance which allotted us our indi- 
vidual fate. In Homer, the Olympic gods 
are called daimones; but from Hesiod 
onwards they are understood as beings 
intermediate between gods and heroes, 
who may have a beneficent or a malevo- 
lent influence on human destiny. Popular 
belief took them as personal guardian 
spirits. In Greek philosophy, daimonion 
came to mean the divine spark in man. 
Under Roman, oriental and early 
Christian influence, however, demons 
ended up as sinister and evil spirits. 

Daityas In Indian belief, demonic ene- 
mies of the gods. They are the sons of the 
goddess — > Diti banned by — > Indra to 
dwell in the depths of the ocean because 
of her reluctance to perform sacrifice as 
due. In later tradition, Prahlada, who was 
raised by — > Visnu to be king of the 
Daityas, exhibits the characteristics of 
a wise ascetic. 

Dakini Supernatural beings in 
Buddhism, who fly in the air. They are 
invested with specific magical powers, 
they can initiate novices into the secret 
learning of the Tantra, and they can be of 
assistance to a Yogin who wishes to fur- 
ther his spiritual insight. They appear as 

young girls hideously disguised or with 
the head of a lion or a bird, and with the 
face of a horse or a dog. They are also 
supposed to eat human beings. 

Daksa In Indian thought, a deity bound 
up with the concept of the creative power. 
He is regarded as the son of the world 
creator —> Prajapati, from whose right 
thumb he is said to have arisen. He is also 
invoked as progenitor of the human race. 
According to one tradition, — > Diti is his 

Daktyioi (Greek daktylos = finger) In 
Greek tradition, demonic beings who 
discovered the art of working in metal. 
They may originally have had phallic sig- 
nificance. They are indigenous to Asia 
Minor and Crete, and form part of the ret- 
inue of the Magna Mater. A distinction is 
often made between right-hand daktyioi, 
who worked as smiths, and left-hand dak- 
tyioi, who were active as sorcerers and 

Dala kadavara (also known as gara 
yaka) In the beginning probably, an 
elephant goddess of the Singhalese: dala 
= tusk. Later, after the introduction of 
Buddhism, it was believed that the now 
demonized god was a bringer of illnesses 
and misfortune. One way of keeping him 
off is to hold a ceremonial masked dance. 

Damballa A divine being venerated 
on Haiti, whom all the other — > Loa 
regard as their father. His sacred colour 
is white, and his symbolical creature is 
the snake. Accordingly, St John the 
Evangelist, who is portrayed with a snake 
(because of the legend of the beaker of 
poisoned wine), is regarded as a manifes- 
tation or variant of Damballa. 

Damgalnunna (Damkina; in Greek 
form, also Dauke) Old Mesopotamian 
goddess, wife of — > Enki, and mother of 

48 Damona 

— > Marduk. In Sumerian myths she often 
turns into the figure of the Mother god- 
dess — > Ninhursanga. 

Damona Gallic goddess, often cou- 
pled with the god — > Borvo. Her name 
means 'the big cow'. 

Damu Sumerian god, son of the god- 
dess of prosperity — > Nin'insina. The cen- 
tre of his cult was at Isin; one of his 
epithets was 'great priest of exorcism'. 

Dana (also found as Ana) In Ireland 
the mother of the gods (— > Tuatha De 
Danann); in mythology she is hardly to be 
distinguished from — » Ana. 

Danavas Half-divine half-demonic 
beings in Indian tradition. They were ban- 
ished by — > Indra to live in the ocean. The 
monster — > Bali was one of their number. 

Daphne (Greek = laurel tree) Daughter 
of the river-god — ¥ Peneios. She was 
a beautiful nymph, who fled from — > 
Apollon when he was making advances to 
her. When Apollon persisted in pursuing 
her, she was changed at her own wish into 
a laurel tree. 

Daramulum Son of the Australian 
god of creation — ¥ Baiame. He rates as a 
mediator between his father and human- 
kind, whose progenitor he is. In addition 
he was raised to the status of a lunar being. 
His name means 'onelegged'. Images of 
this god fashioned from clay are only 
shown at initiation ceremonies. 

Da-shi-zhi ('the strongest') In Chinese 
Buddhism, a female Bodhisattva (— ¥ 
Mahasthamaprata). Through the power 
of love she was able to break out of the 
rule of Karma, thus opening a way for 
all creatures to escape from the cycle of 
rebirth. In art she is shown receiving 
souls in the shape of flowers in the heav- 
enly paradise. 

Datin A god often invoked in Thamudic 
(old north Arabian) inscriptions. Neither 
his name nor his function are clearly under- 
stood: it has been suggested that the name 
might mean 'he who seizes', or that the 
root meaning is 'fertility', 'abundance'. 

Debata Among the Toba-Batak in 
Sumatra, this word is used to denote both 
an individual god and divine power in 



Dedun (Dewden) Egyptian god, lord 
and giver of incense. To the monarch, 
Dedun brings the peoples and riches of 
southern lands. He was usually portrayed 
in human guise, but, like — > Arsnuphis, he 
could also assume the form of a lion. 

Deive Lithuanian appellation for 
divinity; certain stones which were the 
object of veneration were called deyves. 
With the coming of Christianity, the word 
came to mean a heathen deity or a fairy of 
some kind. 

Dema-deities A.E. Jensen has pro- 
posed this lable for a category of mythical 
primeval beings who are revered in primi- 
tive planter-cultures as bringers of these 
cultures. They occupy a midway position 
between gods and men. It is to their death 
that men owe the first cultivable plants. In 
this connection, the myth of the maiden 
Hianuwele is particularly well-known. The 
word dema is taken from the language of 
the Marindanim who live in New Guinea. 

Demeter (abbreviated form Deo) Greek 
goddess of the earth and of fertility, daugh- 
ter of — > Kronos and of — ¥ Rheia. While 
searching for her daughter — > Persephone, 
stolen from her by — ¥ Hades, she was 
well received in Attika, and showed her 
thanks by teaching the king's son 
Triptolemos how to organise his fields and 
planting. Her attribute is the ear of corn. 

Devi 49 

Her epithet Melissa (= bee) indicates 
her maternal and nourishing function. 
According to Hesiod, her liasion with Iason 
produced Plutos, the god of riches and the 
epitome of all the gifts of the earth. Her 
main feast was the Thesmophoria, a fertil- 
ity rite from which men were excluded; 
here, living piglets, snakes and pine-cones 
(as phallic symbols) were thrown into 
Demeter's cave so that the generative power 
of the earth might be enhanced. The mys- 
teries enacted in honour of Demeter at 
Eleusis took place in a shrine which was 
accessible only to initiates, who were 
bound by solemn vows to secrecy. 

Deng Divine progenitor of the Dinka 
people in the Sudan. With his club he gen- 
erates lightning, thus bringing rain and 
fertility. It is in Deng that the universal 
spirit has revealed himself to humankind. 

Dercetius A mountain-god venerated 
in ancient Hispania. 

Dev (pi. dev.k) In Armenian belief, 
spirit beings corresponding to the Iranian 

— > daevas. They were held to be immor- 
tal; they lived in ruins and appeared to 
man in various guises. The — > ays formed 
a special category. With the coming of 
Christianity, the word dev came to mean 
the old pagan gods. 

Deva (Sanskrit = heavenly, divine) 
The general Vedic appellation for what is 
divine. According to the Rigveda there 
are 33 devas. In Hinduism, the word is 
used for a certain category of traditional 
gods, whose significance falls far short of 
the national gods like — > Siva or — > Visnu. 
The Mahabharata speaks of 3333 gods. 
Among the devas are the — > Adityas who 
rule the heavens, the — > Rudra who con- 
trol the atmosphere and the — > Vasus who 
are of the earth. In the original Vedic 
scheme of things the devas were immor- 
tals; in the post-Rigveda period they are 
part of creation; and in Jainism and 
Buddhism the gods are subject to the law 
of Karman like other creatures. In 
Buddhist texts, the devas appear almost 
exclusively as disciples or servitors of —> 
Gautama Buddha. 

Devaputra ('son of the gods') In 
Buddhism, a designation for gods, other- 
wise unnamed, of lower rank. The term is 
also sometimes used pejoratively for the 
gods of Hinduism. 

Devel (or Del) This is what the gipsies 
call their highest being. Contact with 
Christianity led to a distinction between 
baro (or phuro) devel, 'great' or 'old' god, 
and tikno (or tarno) devel, 'small' or 
'young' god: the latter being Christ. The 
word devel is cognate with Sanskrit deva 
= god. 

Devi In Indian religions, the designa- 
tion of female deities, which may be 
incarnations of natural phenomena (e.g. 
— > Usas) or hypostatizations (e.g. — > 
Vac). The spouse of — » Siva is designated 

50 Dharana 

Devi, though she is usually called — ¥ 
Durga or MahadevI, i.e. 'great goddess'. 



Dharma (Dharman in the Rigveda) 
Originally, the appellation for the inner 
'law' (dharma) which determines con- 
duct; subsequently, the personification of 
this law. Dharma then becomes a kind of 
— ¥ Prajapati or world creator. As 
Dharmaraja, blue-skinned and armed 
with a club, he takes the place of — ¥ Yama. 

Dharmadhatuvagisvara A form of 
the bodhisattva — ¥ Manjusri. He is white- 
skinned, with four faces and six arms, and 
he sits in a posture of blessed grace on the 
moon above a double lotus. In his specific 
mandala he is called — ¥ Manjughosa. 

Dharmapala ('protector of the teaching'; 
Chinese, Hu Fa) In Buddhism, espe- 
cially in Tibetan Buddhism, divine beings 
who are supposed to protect the faithful 
from evil demons. The — ¥ Caturmaharajas 
can also appear in this capacity. 

Dhritarastra (in Pali, Dhatarattha; in 
Chinese, Chi Guo) One of the four 
Buddhist guardians of the world 
(—¥ Caturmaharajas). He is specifically 
entrusted with the East. His allotted 
colour is white; he holds a mandoline, 
and is lord of the divine musicians 
(— > Gandharvas). 

Dhruva ('the constant one', 'the fixed 
one') In Indian mythology the Pole 
Star, belonging to the group of gods 
known as the — ¥ Vasus. In Vedic times, the 
Pole Star was invoked in the marriage 
ceremony as a symbol of constancy. 

Dhyani-Bodhisattvas The five medi- 
tative and world-creating powers, the 
spiritual sons of the five — ¥ Dhyani- 
Buddhas: — ¥ Samantabhadra ('rich in 
blessings on all sides'), — ¥ Vajrapani 

('bearer of the thunderbolt'), — ¥ Ratnapani 
('bearer of the jewel'), — ¥ Avalokitesvara, 
and — ¥ Visvapani ('in whose hand all 
things are'). 

Dhyani-Buddhas The five 'meditat- 
ing' Buddhas who arose from the 
primeval Buddha (— ¥ Adibuddha), and 
who are classified in terms of heavenly 
quarters, colours, seasons, magic formu- 
lae and phonological divisions of the 
Devanagari script. Individually, they are 
named as — ¥ Vairocana, — ¥ Aksobhya, — ¥ 
Ratnasambhava, — » Amitabha and 
— ¥ Amoghasiddhi. These heavenly 
Buddhas are, in a certain sense, the inef- 
fable body of the dharma, while the five 
'human' Buddhas who appear on earth 
during our age form its manifest and 
material emanation. The term Dhyani- 
Buddha is being gradually replaced by 
'tathagata' ('the perfected one', '(having) 
thus fared'). 

Diana Ancient Italian goddess of 
woods and forests; in Rome and Latium, 
she was also held to be the protectress of 
virginity, and she was worshipped as the 
moon-goddess. Her name is derived from 
Diviana = the shining one (female). As 
goddess of the federal cult of the Latins 
she had a temple on the Aventine Hill. 
Tales from Greek myth about the divine 
huntress — ¥ Artemis were taken over by 
the Romans and applied to Diana. 

Dian-Cecht In ancient Ireland, a god 
of healing who could heal wounds mirac- 
ulously. When the god —¥ Nuadu lost his 
hand in battle, Dian-Cecht was able to fit 
him with a silver one. 

Dieva deli ('sons of god') In Latvian 
myth, two, sometimes three heavenly 
beings, sons of the sky-god — ¥ Dievs. 
They mow the heavenly meadows on 
which the daughters of the sun (— ¥ Saules 
meitas) then rake up the hay. In the 

Dipamkara 51 

heavenly bath-house they pour water on 
the heated stones. 

Dievini In Latvian belief, a body of 
minor gods who are entrusted with look- 
ing after houses. 

Dievs Latvian sky-god, who appears in 
mythology as a sort of well-to-do farmer. 
He wears a cap, and has a sword at his 
side. Sometimes he is mounted on a fine 
horse, at other times he is shown riding in 
a wagon. There is a detailed description of 
how he and his sons (-» Dieva deli) set 
free the sun and her daughters (— > Saule). 

DM Mauri The 'Moorish gods' men- 
tioned in Latin inscriptions in North Africa, 
who are almost never named; they were 
supposed to be 'salutares' (redemptory), 
'immortales' (immortal) and 'augusti' 

Dike (Greek = usage, manner) 
Personification of righteousness, belong- 
ing to the — > Horae. Aeschylos shows us 
the prosperous sinner coming to grief on 
the rock of Dike. 

Dimme Sumerian female demon of 
puerperal fever and diseases of infants, 
often known as 'daughter of — > An'. She 
corresponds to the Akkadian — > Lamastu. 

Diomedes One of the most celebrated 
Greek heroes in the Trojan Wars: proba- 
bly in origin an ancient war-god in Argos. 
This would explain why he is presented in 
the Iliad as an opponent equal in birth, if 
not superior to — > Ares and — > Aphrodite. 
He is regarded as the founder of several 
towns in southern Italy, where he was 
subsequently revered as a god. 

Dionysos Greek god of fertility, of 
wine and drunkenness. His name is taken 
to mean 'son of Zeus'. His original home- 
land seems to have been Thrace and/or Asia 
Minor; his alternative name, Bakchos 

(Latin — ¥ Bacchus) may be of Lydian 
origin. According to the myth, his mother 
— > Semele died when her lover — > Zeus 
revealed himself to her in all his divine 
majesty as a bolt of lightning. Dionysos has 
several epithets; thus, Bromios ('thun- 
derer') and Lyaios ('the deliverer' of men 
from their cares). First and foremost, how- 
ever, he is the god who created the vine and 
caused milk and honey to flow from nature. 
His cult was tumultuous, ecstatic and 
orgiastic. Women (maenads or Bacchae) 
distracted by his influence ran and danced 
through the woods waving torches and 
thyrsus staves. The thyrsus staff entwined 
with ivy and vine and with a pine cone at 
the tip was the main attribute of the god; 
theriomorphically he was visualized as 
a goat or a bull, both of them symbols of 
animal fertility. In dionysiac processions 
a phallus was borne along. Dionysos was 
seen as a god who dies and is resurrected; 
and his entry into Athens on a ship on 
wheels was construed as a return from the 
underworld. In the later cult of Orphism he 
was equated with — > Zagreus. 

Dioskuroi (Greek = 'sons of Zeus') 
The twin brothers Kastor and Polydeukes, 
a pair with many parallels in the mythol- 
ogy of other IndoGermanic peoples: e.g. 
in India, the Asvins, and among the 
German tribes the —> Alcis. They came to 
live with men and helped them in battle 
and when they were in peril on the sea. 
In their cosmic function as sons of heaven 
they were thought of as theriomorphic; 
the Greeks called them leukippoi = hav- 
ing white steeds. Their cult has also an 
astral aspect, and they figure in the 
Zodiac as Gemini, the Twins. 

Dipamkara ('Lighter of lamps') A 
Buddha who preceded —» Gautama. In East 
Asia, the concept of a triad of Buddhas 
took root and became very popular: 
Dipamkara for the past age, Sakyamuni 

52 Discordia 

(= Gautama) for the present, and — > 
Maitreya for the future. The Chinese name 
for Dipamkara is Ran Deng Fo. 



Disir (Old Norse; Old High German idisi) 
Collective appellation for certain god- 
desses of fertility and destiny in Germanic 
mythology. The disir sacrifice (disablot) 
performed in autumn, recalls the cults of 
vegetation gods and goddesses. These 
goddesses were also supposed to be help- 
ful as midwives, and in this function — > 
Freyja bears the name l dis of the Vanir' 
(Vanadis). Among the West Germans, the 
disir took over the role of goddesses of 
destiny and fate, as well as that of god- 
desses of battle (cf the first Merseburg 
Zauberspruch). In the Edda, — > Valkyries 
and — > Norns are described as disir. 

Dis Pater Roman god of the under- 
world, and giver of riches. In Rome, 
he was venerated along with Proserpina 
(—¥ Persephone). It was in his honour that 
the ludi Tarentini were celebrated every 
hundred years. Dis Pater corresponds to 
the Greek — > Hades. 

Diti Ancient Indian goddess: she who 
gives us what we wish for. In order to 
avenge her sons (—> Daityas), killed or 
banished by Indra, she was to bear a son 
who would slay him: but Indra split the 
embryo into seven pieces which became 
the -> Maruts. 

Diwe Gigantic anthropophagous mon- 
sters in Iranian folklore; they have animals' 
faces and horns but they can assume many 
other forms. The name is connected with 
the — > Daevas. 

Di-ya and Tian-long A pair of Chinese 
gods. On the one hand, they appear as 
servants of the god of literature, Wen 
Chang; on the other hand, all creatures 
are said to have risen from their union. 

Tian-long's name contains the word for 
'heaven', tian while Di-ya is also referred 
to as Di-mu = Earth-mother. 

Di-zang Chinese — > Bodhisattva and 
ruler over hell, from which he seeks to 
rescue men. He is thus a kind of guide of 
souls, who leads anyone who trusts in him 
to the shore of wisdom. In origin, he may 
well have been an earth divinity. 

Djall The Albanian name for the devil, 
cognate with Latin diabolus. Another 
name for the devil in Albanian is dreqi, 
from the Latin draco = dragon, snake. 

Djata (also called Putir = earth) A 
goddess of the Ngadju-Dayak in Borneo. 
Her original name was Tambon = water- 
snake, and it is in this form that she 
appears to men. She lives in the under- 
world, and crocodiles are her subjects. 
Djata is the female counterpart to — > 
Mahatala; in ceremonial chants they both 
appear in tandem as 'the water-snake 
which is also rhinoceros-bird'. 

Djebauti (Zebauti) Egyptian local god 
in the form of a heron perched on a pole. 
He was later absorbed into the falcon-god 
— > Horus. 

Dolichenus Syrian god of weather and 
of war (like — » Baal); thereafter, an epithet 
of — > Zeus who was worshipped in the 
north Syrian town of Doliche. His own 
cult was transferred to Jupiter, and Roman 
troops spread it across Asia Minor into 
the Danube area. He was represented as 
a bearded man standing on the back of 
a bull; his attributes were a double-headed 
axe and a cluster of lightning flashes. 

Donbittir The Ossetian god of waters 
and of fish: accordingly he is invoked by 

Dong-yo Da-di ('Great Emperor of the 
Eastern Peak') In Chinese mythology, 
the helper of the sky-god — > Yu-di. He is 

Durga 53 

a kind of cabinet minister in divine gov- 
ernment, and within his competence falls 
supervision of all areas of human life. It is 
also in his department that the times for 
birth and death of all creatures are laid 



Druden (Truden; Gothic tvudan, Old 
Norse trotha = tread, push) Drude (pi. 
Druden) is a term, particularly wide- 
spread in south Germany and Austria, for 
a female demon which harries you in 
sleep (in this, similar to the — > Alp) or 
casts evil spells. The word means 'ghost' 
in Middle High German, and it has 
become synonymous with Hexe = witch. 
In folklore the pentagram (Drudenfusz in 
German) is regarded as a protective 
charm against evil spirits. 

Drug In the form druh a designation 
for a class of demons, dating back to 
Vedic times. In Iranian religion, inter- 
preted as 'falsehood' and assigned to — » 
Ahriman, whose hypostases they become. 
They dwell in a dark cave. Drug may also 
simply mean 'demon of falsehood'. 

Dryads (Greek drys = oak-tree) 
Female spirits of nature who live in trees 
(—> Nymphs) in Greek mythology. The 
fate of such a tree-nymph is closely con- 
nected with that of the tree she inhabits. 

Dua Egyptian god, whose name is 
interpreted as meaning 'the morning 
one', 'the matutinal'. He is the god of toi- 
letry, who washes the king's face and 
gives him a shave. According to the 
Pyramid texts, he also plays a part in the 
so-called magical 'mouth-opening' cere- 
mony, by means of which the dead regain 
the use of their organs. 

Duamutef ('who praises his mother') 
One of the four sons of — ¥ Horus, who 
were entrusted with the protection of 

a corpse. The corpse's stomach fell within 
the jurisdiction of the jackal-headed 
Duamutef. The east was the heavenly 
quarter allotted to him. 

bDud In the ancient Tibetan Bon reli- 
gion, an appellation for heavenly spirits 
who were later degraded by Lamaism to 
the status of devils. The bDud were black 
and lived in a black castle. 

Duillae Ancient Hispanic goddesses, 
occurring in pairs. They were nature god- 
desses who protected vegetation. They have 
been compared with the Gallic — > Matres, 
whose role seems to be very similar. 

Dumuzi (Sumerian = true son) Usually 
given the Hebrew/ Aramaic form of his 
name - Tammuz. Old Mesopotamian god 
of vegetation, representative of the male 
principle (as — > Istar was of the female). 
One of his epithets is Ama'usumgal 
('whose mother is a heavenly dragon'). 
Dumuzi was supposed to be the lover and 
the spouse of — ¥ Inanna, who handed him 
over to the demons of the underworld, 
where he then ruled as king. His descent to 
the underworld and his return therefrom 
symbolize the natural cycle of decay and 
reawakening in the vegetable world. The 
cult of Tammuz spread beyond the confines 
of Mesopotamia (cf. Ezekiel 8: 14). 

Dumuziabzu (Sumerian 'true child of 
Abzu' — > Apsu) Old Mesopotamian 
goddess who formed part of — > Enki's 
group in Old Babylonian mythology. Her 
main function was that of tutelary god- 
dess of the town of Kinirsa. 

Dur Kassite god corresponding to the 
Babylonian god of the underworld — > 

Durga (Sanskrit = 'she who is difficult of 
access') Hindu goddess of the Great 
Mother type, particularly revered by the 
broad masses in Bengal, Assam and the 

54 Dusares 


Deccan. She is the spouse of — > Siva. In 
her friendly aspect she is — > Gauri; and as 
Annapuma - represented with rice-bowl 
and spoon - she is a giver of food. In her 
fearsome aspect she appears as Candi ('the 
cruel one') or as — > Kali ('she who is 
black'). Finally she is also Tara ('she who 
sets free') and merges into the figure of — > 
Parvatl. These names indicate that Durga 
is a composite figure incorporating various 
goddesses, once independent, who gradu- 
ally merged with her cult. Her main feast 
(Durgapuja) is celebrated in the autumn. 

Dusares (Dus-Sara) The chief god of 
the Nabataeans. The name means 'he (the 
god) of es-Sara', this being the area 
between the Red Sea and the Dead Sea. In 
the Hellenistic period the god was 
equated with the Greek — > Dionysos, and 
represented with a vine. The sacred image 
of Dusares was originally a black stone in 
Petra. The panther and the eagle were 
sacred to him. 

Dvarapala ('gate-keeper') Buddhist 
deities: in Mandalas they guard the 
'gates' or keep watch at the entrances to 
temples and monasteries. They are repre- 
sented as — > Yaksa-demons, or as mighty 
warriors in splendid armour. In China 
they are known as erjiang ('the two com- 
manders'), named respectively Hong and 
Ha, though they form only one single 
being representing the two halves of the 
absolute: Ha represents the matrix world 
of the elements, while Hong represents 
the diamond world of the spirit. 

Dyaus (Dyaus pitar) Ancient Indian 
sky-god and father of the gods, usually 
mentioned in association with the earth 
goddess — > Prithivi. Together, Dyaus and 
Prithivl are thought of as bull and cow. 
The sun-god — > Stirya is regarded as the 
son of Dyaus. 





Babylonian god corresponding to the 
Sumerian — > Enki. It has been suggested 
that the name means 'water-house', but 
this is not generally accepted by scholars. 
Ea's realm was the sweet-water ocean 
under the earth, and his temple was in the 
house of — > Apsu. He was the god of 
wisdom and of the magician's art, the 
great artist whose hands formed man. 
He was taken over by the Hittites under 
the name of A' as, and was regarded by 
them as the keeper of the tablets of des- 
tiny and as 'king of good counsel'. 

Eacus Old Hispanic god venerated in 
the area of present-day Castile. He was 
equated with — > Jupiter Solutorius, a 
Roman god by whom Eacus was finally 
completely absorbed. 

Eate (also known as Egata) Basque 
god of fire and storms, whose voice may 
be heard in advance of a hail-storm or a 
destructive fire. 

Ebech A Canaanite mountain god who 
was overcome by — > Inanna. 

Echidna (Greek = snake) Demonic 
monster in Greek mythology, half- 
woman, half-snake. From her coupling 
with Typhon there arose — > Kerberos and 
the — » Chimaira. 

Egeria Nymph associated with springs 
and wells in Roman mythology, who 
gradually assumed the functions of a god- 
dess of birth. Legend has it that she was 
the counsellor of King Numa Pompilius 
to whom she came by night to reveal the 
will of the gods. 

Egres (Akras) God of vegetation and 
fertility venerated by the ancient Finns, 
especially in Karelia. He was first and 
foremost the protector and the donator of 
turnips. The twin fruit of the turnip was 
his symbol and was known as 'holy 

Eileithyia (Latin Ilithyia) Greek god- 
dess of birth, whose cult was particularly 
widespread on Crete and in Lakonia. Her 
name probably means 'she who comes 
to help'. She was supposed to be the 
daughter of — > Zeus and of — > Hera. 
Later, — > Artemis took over the functions 
of Eileithyia. 

Eirene (Latin Irene) Greek goddess of 
peace, one of the three — ¥ Horae, the 
daughter of Zeus and of — > Themis. In 
Athens she was worshipped from the end 
of the fifth century BC onwards. At the 
feast of Synoikia bloodless sacrifice was 
made to her. 



Ekajata ('she who has but one shock of 
hair') One of the terrible deities in 

56 Ekchuah 

Buddhism, whose appearance strikes fear 
into men. She is usually represented as 
having one head and three eyes; she is blue 
in colour, her face is distorted with rage, 
and she wears a tiger's skin round her loins. 
If she has two arms, her attributes are a ser- 
rated knife and skulls; if she is shown with 
four arms, she is holding in her right hands 
sword and arrow, in her left hands bow and 
skulls. She is also known as Ugra-Tara 
('the terrible — > Tara'). Those who worship 
her can look forward to being suitably 
rewarded. A specific form of the goddess 
is — > Vidyujjvalakarali. In Tibetan, Ekajata 
is called Ral-gCig-ma. 


• «• 

The Maya god of travelling merchants. 
In specialist literature he is known as god 
M. He is represented as black in colour 
with a dangling lower lip and a long 
scorpion's tail. 

Ekhi (Eguzki) A Basque designation 
for the sun and for its personification, 
who is said to be a daughter of Mother 
Earth (— > Lur). Sorcerers and evil spirits 
lose their potency when a ray of sunshine 
falls upon them. 

El An appellation among the ancient 
Syrians and Canaanites for a deity, known 
in south Arabia as //. The name was also 
used to designate the supreme god. There is 
some disagreement among scholars as to 

what the name means precisely: some opt 
for 'the mighty one', 'the powerful one', 
others prefer 'the first one'. In the 
mythology of Ugarit, El appears as father 
of the gods and 'creator of creatures'. He 
also has the epithets 'creator of the earth' 
(Qone'ars) and 'bull', a reference to his 
significance as a fertility symbol. The god 
has his throne 'at the source of the rivers'. 
In Palmyra he was known by the name of 
Elqonera; and as 'he who causes the 
springs to flow' he was equated with — > 

Elagabal (Greek Heliogabalos or 
Elaiagabalos) The local god of the 
Syrian town of Emesa (the modern 
Horns). His cult centred round a black 
stone shaped like a bee-hive. The god's 
name seems to be derived from Elah-gabal 
('lord of the mountain'). In the Hellenistic 
period he was also connected with the 
sun-god — > Helios. The fact that his sym- 
bolic creature is the eagle is further proof 
of a solar connection. 

Elben (German plural form: also as 
Alben; Old Saxon alf (sing.); Old Norse 
dlf dlfar) Nature spirits in Germanic 
mythology. In Snorri's Edda, a distinction 
is made between dlfar who are light and 
beautiful in colour, and dlfar who are dark. 
The dlfar were the objects of a cult, and 
this distinguishes them from the dwarfs. 
They were seen as spirits of fertility and as 
protective spirits; often again their behav- 
iour suggests souls of the dead. They may 
suffer a transition into a demonic aspect, 
and then they are bringers of sickness and 
ill-fortune (— ¥ Alp). The semantic field is 
widened through contamination with the 
word 'Elfen' (= English 'elves') which 
makes its appearance in the eighteenth 
century in German literature. 

Elel Malevolent demonic being in the 
beliefs of the Puelche Indians in 

Endouellicus 57 

Argentina. He causes storms, illnesses 
and death; he also plays a part in initiation 

Eljon Old Syrian deity. The name is 
derived from the root alaj ('to go up, be 
up'). Philon of Byblos calls him Eliun; in 
Greek form Hypsistos ('the most lofty'). 
In the Old Testament, the name Eljon can 
be taken as identical with — > Jahwe, as the 
latter is called el eljon ('most high God') 
in Genesis 14: 22. 

Elkunirsa The name of this Hittite god 
probably means 'El (god) creator of the 
earth'. In one myth, — > Asertu is pre- 
sented as his spouse. There is good evi- 
dence for the thesis that this god was 
taken over from a Canaanite cult. 

Ellel (also Ellilus) A Hittite god, taken 
over from the Babylonians (— > Enlil) and 
very largely equated with the Hurrian 
father of the gods (—¥ Kumarbi). 

Elohim (Semitic — > el) Common 
expression for 'God' in the Old 
Testament. The word is plural in form, but 
is also used in the singular: 'god' or 
'gods'. Pagan gods are thus designated, 
as well as the God of Israel (— > Jahwe). 
Elohim is the omnipotent God, the 
creator of heaven and earth. 

Elves (cf. German Elben) The word 
was taken over from English and used in 
German literature in the form Elben, to 
denote certain friendly female spirits. 
They are fond of music and dancing, and 
are in general well-disposed towards 
human beings. By analogy with the king 
of the dwarfs, Alberich, their ruler is 
called king of the elves. The Danish form 
is elverkonge, which went into celebrated 
poems by Herder and Goethe as 

Emeli-hin A name for God used by the 
Tuareg in West-Central Sudan. The word 

means 'my lord', and the 1st person 
singular marker hin may be replaced by 
the 1st person plural neneg; thus emeli- 
neneg = our lord; similarly emeli n terna = 
lord of power. 

Emma-o (or Emma-ten) In Japanese 
Buddhism, — > Yama in his capacity as 
King of Hell. He rides on a water-buffalo, 
and bears aloft a standard with a human 
head. He may also be depicted as a stern 
judge holding a tablet or a book in 
which he enters the sins of those who 
have been condemned to be reborn in pur- 
gatory (the eschatological state of purifi- 
cation) and determines the extent of their 

Empung Luminuut Female deity of 
the Minahasa tribe in North Celebes 
(Sulawesi). She arose from the earth or 
was sweated out of a stone. Impregnated 
by the west wind, she gave life to the sun- 
god Toar. Mother and son separate; and 
when they meet they fail to recognize each 
other and marry. From their union are 
born the race of gods and the human race. 

Empusa A female monster in ancient 
Greek popular belief. She could appear as 
a beautiful maiden, but then again as a 
hideous ghost with the feet of an ass. 
Usually, she forms part of —> Hekate's 

En An Old Illyrian god whose name 
lives on in the Albanian word for 
Thursday. With the coming of 
Christianity, En was demoted to demonic 

Enbilulu Sumerian god of irrigation 
and agriculture. In Babylon he was 
regarded as the son of — > Ea, and finally 
figured as one of the fifty names of — > 

Endouellicus (Endouolicus) A god 
venerated in Lusitania (present-day 

58 Enki 

Portugal), for the sick a source of oracles 
which could lead to their recovery. At 
some of his shrines pigs are depicted, and 
it is possible that these animals were sac- 
rificed to him: equally, however, they may 
have purely chthonic significance, serv- 
ing to emphasize the god's function as a 
god of the underworld. On some of his 
altars a palm tree is represented. 

Enki (Sumerian = 'lord of the earth' 
or 'lord of the nether-regions') In 
Sumeria, the ruler of the sweet-water 
ocean which was believed to lie under the 
earth, and of the life-giving springs and 
wells. In addition, he is god of wisdom 
and of magic. In myth he appears as the 
creator of vegetation and of human 
beings. On cylinder seals he is shown sit- 
ting enthroned in his temple surrounded 
by flowing waters; jets of water come 
from his shoulders. The number specific 
to him is forty. In Akkadian, — ¥ Ea 
corresponds to Enki. 

Enlil (Sumerian = 'lord (of the) wind') 
In Akkadian as Ellil, in Greek as Illinos. 
The supreme god in the Sumerian pan- 
theon. He is 'King of lands'; because of 
his strength he is called Rimu ('wild ox'), 
and another of his epithets is kur-gal 
('great mountain'). His weapon is the 
storm-flood. Enlil's father is the sky-god 
— ¥ An, his spouse is — ¥ Ninlil. As lord of 
the tablets of destiny he can determine the 
course of the world. He is not always 
well-disposed towards human beings; and 
to their misfortune he sends them the 
Deluge and the monster — > Labbu. As a 
symbol of his power Enlil bears a head- 
dress decorated with horns (the so-called 
horned crown). His specific number is 

Enmesarra The name of this 
Sumerian god means 'lord of all the me'. 
The word me seems to denote the divine 

rules and regulations. In one very old list 
of gods, Enmesarra actually takes prece- 
dence over the sky-god — ¥ An. His func- 
tion makes him a god of the underworld. 

Eos Greek goddess of the dawn, some- 
times also known as Hemera (= day). She 
is the 'rosyfingered', youthful and beauti- 
ful, sister of the sun (— ¥ Helios) and the 
moon (—¥ Selene). Every morning she 
drives the team of horses which pull her 
chariot up from the depths of the ocean. 
When she weeps for her son Memnon 
who fell at Troy, her tears fall on the earth 
as dew. Her Roman counterpart is — ¥ 

Epaphos Son of — ¥ Zeus in his taurine 
metamorphosis, and — > Io (in the form of 
a cow). A later Greek tradition makes 
Epaphos the progenitor of the Egyptians. 

Ephialtes — > Aloades 

Epona (Celtic = the big mare) A 
goddess worshipped in Gaul, usually 
shown riding a horse. Her attribute is a 
cornucopia, sometimes also a dog. It is 
uncertain whether the horse and the dog 
are to be interpreted as dead animals, 
and Epona herself as a goddess of the 
underworld. The cornucopia also suggests 
a fertility cult. 

Eranoranhan The protector or tute- 
lary god of men on the island of Hierro in 
the Canaries; the goddess Moneiba 
played the same part for women. The god 
lived on one rock, the goddess on another. 

Erato One of the nine — ¥ Muses. She is 
the muse of lyric poetry, especially of 
love poetry, and she is usually portrayed 
holding a stringed instrument in her 

Ereskigal A Sumerian goddess of the 
underworld; one of her epithets is 'great 
earth'. She is the sister and underworld 
counterpart of — ¥ Inanna/Istar, who 

Erotes 59 

dwells in the lofty regions of heaven. 
Her spouse is — » Nergal. 

Erge In Basque folklore - and attested 
in myth - a spirit which takes men's lives. 

Erinyes (Greek pi.; sing. Erinys) 
Avenging goddesses of the underworld in 
Greek mythology. They arose from the 
drops of blood soaked up by the earth 
(— > Gaia) when Kronos mutilated his 
father. The Greek tragedians call them 
'the daughters of the night'. They are 
three in number, and bear the names 
Allekto ('she who is unremitting'), 
Teisiphone ('she who avenges murder') 
and Megaira ('she who is envious'). With 
snake-bedecked heads and waving threat- 
ening torches they come from the under- 
world to pursue all sinners, especially 
those who have killed members of their 
own family or close relatives. They were 
later presented in more favourable guise 
as the Semnai ('the venerable ones') or 
the Eumenides ('the well-disposed'). In 
Rome, they were known as the Furiae 
('the mad ones'), furies. 

Eris Greek goddess of dissension and 
strife, sister of the war-god — > Ares. 
Hesiod makes a distinction between the 
fearsome Eris, the instigator of enmity 
and affliction, and the benevolent Eris 
who stimulates men to engage in compe- 
tition. One of the best-known scenes in 
Greek mythology shows us Eris throwing 
an apple (the apple of contention) on 
which is written 'for the fairest', among 
the wedding guests, and thus provoking 
a quarrel among the goddesses present. 
Roman writers took Eris over under 
the name of Discordia (= dissension, 

Eriu (Eire) Name for Ireland; personi- 
fied as the goddess of the island. Her 
husband is — > Mac Greine. 

Erlik Among the Altaic peoples of 
southern Siberia, the adversary of God, 
he who led the first men to commit sin. 
His heaven is destroyed, and he himself is 
banished to the underworld. 


Greek god of love, the son of — > Aphrodite 
and — ¥ Ares. Hesiod hymns his praises as 
the most beautiful of the gods. In popular 
belief and in classical art he is shown as the 
winged youth with his bow and arrows 
which he fires into the hearts of gods and 
men, thus awakening them to love. He also 
fosters friendship between men and boys, 
and this is why the Spartans paid homage 
to him before battle. His cult in Thespiai in 
Boeotia, was of very ancient standing: here 
he was worshipped in the form of a stone. 
His power to arouse and move the world 
led the Orphic cults to recognize him 
as creator of the world. — ¥ Amor is the 
corresponding figure among the Romans. 

Erotes Boy-like gods of love in late 
Classical art; known in Latin as amoretti. 
They were taken over in the Renaissance 
and remained popular through the 

60 Erra 

Baroque and Rococo periods in the guise 
of putti or genii. 

Erra (Irra) Babylonian god of plague. 
Stung by the demonic — > Sebettu, he 
brings plague and other misfortunes to 
mankind. His adviser, who succeeds in 
pacifying him, is — > Isum. It is not certain 
whether there is any connection between 
the Akkadian word Erra and the Hittite — > 

Es Sky-god of the Ket people who live 
on the Yenisei in Siberia. He is invisible, 
but is portrayed as an old man with a 
long black beard. He is the creator of the 
world and he kneaded the first humans 
out of clay: whatever he threw with his 
right hand towards the left became a man, 
and what he threw with his left hand 
towards the right became a woman. 

Esenchebis The Greek name really 
means Tsis in Chembis'; and refers to 
the goddess — ¥ Isis, who was worshipped 
on the island of Chembis, as well as 
elsewhere (e.g. at Bubastis). 

Esmun Phoenician god of healing, 
whose cult was widespread in Cyprus, 
Sardinia and North Africa (Carthage). He 
was thought of as a handsome youth, and, 
as such, connected with — > Melqart. 

Estanatlehi A goddess of the Navajos. 
She used maize meal and the dust from 
her breasts to create the progenitors of the 
Navajo people. Then she became ruler in 
the land of the setting sun (the land of the 
dead) whence she dispenses whatever is 
good to mankind. War and illness come 
from the east. 

Esus Gallic god, whose name remains 
unexplained (though not for want of sug- 
gestions). The classical writer, Lukianos, 
reports the god's desire for human blood. 
Two altars have been found which show 
him using an axe against a tree: it is not 
known exactly why. Equally mysterious is 
the bull accompanied by three birds 
(cranes?) which seems to be associated 
with him. 

Etemmu ('dead man's ghost') The 
Babylonians believed that the soul of a 
dead person who remained uninterred, 
wandered about as a ghost: it could turn 
nasty and harm people. 

Eunomi'a ('heavenly order') One of 
the — > Horae, who were entrusted with 
the job of looking after the gates of 
heaven and of Olympus. 



Euros Greek god of the wind which 
blows from the south-east. His epithet is 
Argestes, i.e. 'he who clears up'. Like 
the other wind-gods associated with 
different quarters of the heavens he is 
a son of — > Eos. 

Euterpe ('she who brings joy') One of 
the nine — > Muses. She is portrayed play- 
ing a double flute, thus representing 
lyrical poetry accompanied by flutes. 

Evan A being belonging to the — > Las 
in Etruscan religion. Usually thought of 
as female, it is sometimes portrayed as 
masculine. It has been suggested that 
it may be a mythic personification of 
personal immortality. 


Fafnir ('gripper', 'clasper') In 
Germanic mythology, a demonic being 
who killed his father and then, in dragon 
form, guarded the great golden treasure of 
the Nibelungs, until slain by Sigurd 

Fagus Pyrenean tree-god venerated 
in Roman times. As the name suggests, the 
tree in question was the beech, worshipped 
as divine. 

Fairy Fairies were thought of as nature 
spirits of a lower order - to some extent, 
of demonic character - who dwelt in 
springs, forests and caves. They were, in 
general, well disposed towards human 
beings, though they were not slow to pun- 
ish those who failed to show gratitude. 
Such beings were called elves among the 
Germanic tribes, while the Baltic peoples 
knew them as — ¥ Laume. The word 'fairy' 
comes via Old French feie, fee from Latin 
fatua = (female) seer, and fatum = fate, 
destiny. In association with the Greek — > 
Moirai and the Roman —¥ Parcae, three 
fairies were thought to be the goddesses 
of fate. 

Fama Roman personification of 
rumour. She plays no part at all in Roman 
religion, and is purely a product of Latin 
literary allegory. Vergil pictures her as a 
horrible creature with several tongues and 
babbling mouths. The Greek author 
Hesiod, on the other hand, makes her a 
goddess under the name of Pheme. 

Faro Sky and water god of the 
Bambara (in West Africa). Faro is an 
androgynous being who is made pregnant 
by the oscillations of the universe and 
thereupon gives birth to twins who are the 

progenitors of the human race. Faro also 
gives mankind language and tools for 
fishing and agriculture. Faro's sacred 
colour is white. 

Fatit (Albanian pi.; sing, fati) Female 
beings associated with individual destiny, 
in south Albanian popular belief. On the 
third day after a birth, three of them 
approach the cradle and determine the 
child's fate. They are also known as 
miren (from Greek — > Moirai). They are 
visualized as riding on butterflies. 

Fauna Old Italic goddess of fields and 
woods; she appears as either sister or wife 
of Faunus. As she promotes fertility in the 
fields and among livestock, thereby bless- 
ing the farmer, she was revered as Bona 
Dea ('good goddess'). 

Faunus Old Italic god of nature, pro- 
tector of shepherds and peasants. As 
Innus ('he who makes fruitful') he 
increases the herds. He was supposed to 
be the son of — > Picus, and grandson of — > 
Sahirnus. If he was valued as an oracular 
source, he was rather more feared because 
of his goblin-like propensities. It was only 
after his blending in the popular mind 
with the Greek figure of — ¥ Pan, that he 
was furnished with horns and goat-legs. 
His temple was situated on the Tiber 
island. At a very early date Faunus was 
identified with the wolf-god — ¥ Lupercus. 

Favonius — > Zephyros 

Fe'e -¥ Aitu 

Fei Lian (also found as Feng Bo) 
Chinese god of the wind; he lets the 
winds escape from a large sack. In 
mythical times he figures as an agitator 

62 Fene 

and trouble-maker, but he is restrained by 
the 'heavenly archer' (—> Shen Yi). In var- 
ious myths, Fei Lian is described as a 
winged dragon with a deer's head and a 
snake's tail. 

Fene Hungarian demon, whose name 
still crops up in such expressions as 'Fene 
eat you!' (egye meg a fene). The word 
also means a place where demonic beings 
hang out. 

Fenrir (Fenrisulfr = the wolf Fenrir) 
Lupine demon in Nordic mythology, the 
son of the god — > Loki and the female 
giant Angrboda. His siblings are the — > 
Midgard-snake and the Queen of the 
underworld — > Hel. When the Aesir (— > 
As) began to fear Fenrir they fettered him 
with the unbreakable cord Gleipnir; in the 
process, the god — > Tyr lost a hand which 
he had put into the monster's jaws in order 
to deceive it. When the world is being 
destroyed (Ragnarok) the wolf breaks 
free and kills — > Odin. 

Fidi Mukullu God of creation among 
the Bena Lulua (Zaire). The sun is said to 
have come forth from his right cheek, the 
moon from his left. He taught men to use 
bow and arrow, and gave them iron and 

Finn The hero of a very extensive 
cycle of tales in Ireland (Leinster). The 
saga centres round the red deer. Finn's 
progeny are called the Oisin, i.e. deer- 
calves; one of his wives, Saar, is a hind, 
and he himself can appear as man, dog 
or stag, according to how he turns his 
hood. He can also appear as a manifesta- 
tion of King Mongan, who is a son of the 
sea-god — > Manannan. 

Fjorgyn A north Germanic goddess. 
In the Voluspa she appears as the mother 
of — ¥ Thor. Nothing is known of any cult 
that may have surrounded her. The 

etymology of her name would suggest 
that she is a mountain or forest goddess, 
and she was probably revered as a god- 
dess of fertility. 

Fjorgynn A god mentioned in Snorri's 
Edda as being the father of — > Frigg. 
Nothing further is known about him, but 
it has been suggested that he may be a god 
of thunderstorms whose origins go back 
to pre-Germanic times. 


Roman goddess of growing corn and 
blossoming flowers, originally wor- 
shipped by the Oscans and the Sabines. In 
Rome, her feast (Floralia) was celebrated 
from 28 April to the beginning of May. 
It was an uninhibited and somewhat 
immoral popular revel; Flora herself was 
known as meretrix = whore, but the 
lasciviousness was probably intended to 
promote fecundity, and has also been 
interpreted as a vernal counter-thrust 
against the world of the dead. 

Fo The Chinese name for — > Buddha. 
Specially revered is Shi-jia-mu-ni, i.e. 
Sakyamuni (— > Gautama Buddha), the 
'great hero' (da xiong). Iconographically 
he is shown seated, without any kind of 
decoration, in the diamond posture: the 

Freyja 63 

right foot on the left knee, the left foot on 
the right knee. He wears the ancient 
Indian monk's robe and in his left hand 
there is usually a begging-bowl. His 
particular characteristics are the usnisa 
(turban), the urna (a kind of divine eye) 
and extended ear-lobes. In art, a trinity of 
Buddhas is often represented - Shi-jia- 
mu-ni, Ran Deng Fo (—¥ Dipamkara) and 
—> Mi-lo Fo. 

Fomore (Fomore) In Irish tradition, 
the demons who are the adversaries of the 
gods (— > Tuatha De Danann). Though the 
Fomore can count on having the upper 
hand for a time, they are to be finally 
defeated in the battle of Mag Tured, and 
will have to give his harp back to — > 

Forneus It is possible that the name is a 
parodic version of — » Fornjotr. Forneus 
appears in late medieval literature of magic 
and necromancy as a demonic being, a 
spirit from hell or as a sea-monster. 

Fornjotr A primeval giant in 
Germanic mythology, progenitor of the 
frost-giants. One tradition makes him 
father of the giants Hler, Logi and Kari, 
who rule the sea, fire and the wind. 

Forseti A Germanic god. It has been 
suggested that his name means 'he who 
presides', but the exact meaning is a mat- 
ter of dispute. According to the Edda he is 
a son of — > Balder, he lives in the shining 
hall called Glitnir, and he administers jus- 
tice to men and gods. It is likely that this 
Nordic Forseti corresponds to the Friesian 
god Fosite. 

Fortuna (also Fors Fortuna) To begin 
with, the old Roman goddess of women, 
whose cult was, in part at least, oracular. 
First and foremost, however, Fortuna 
turned into the goddess of good fortune; 
indeed, she herself, as her name indicates, 

personifies fortune, luck, which proves 
effective in a given situation. In Cicero's 
time she was already being identified with 
the Greek — > Tyche. In art she is portrayed 
with rudder, cornucopia and globe as 
attributes. In the Renaissance, Fortuna 
came back into popular favour as a motif in 
art - now, however, equipped with a wheel 
to remind the viewer that luck may not last. 

Fravasi (usually translated as 'she who 
confesses' or 'she who is chosen') In 
Old Iranian religion, the fravasi denoted 
the spiritual preexistence of the believer, 
which watched over him as a protective 
spirit. As a collective, the fravasis helped 
— > Ahura Mazda to create the world; they 
foster plants and, as riders armed with 
spears, they defend heaven. In their 
capacity as warriors they resemble the 
Indian — > Maruts. 

Freyja (Old Norse = mistress, lady) 
North German goddess of love and 
fertility; one of her functions is to assist 
women in childbirth. Her attributes are the 
necklace called Brisingamen (brisa = to 
shine, glitter; possibly a solar symbol), 

64 Freyr 

a falcon cloak, and a chariot drawn by 
cats. She rides on the boar with golden 
bristles, Hildeswin. As a daughter of — > 
Njord she belongs to the race of the — > 
Vanir; in due course, however, she joins 
the Aesir (— > As) and becomes the wife of 
Od (variant of — > Odin). When she loses 
him she weeps golden tears for him. On 
occasion, she becomes indistinguishable 
from — > Frigg. Cf. also — > Gefjon. 

Freyr (Old Norse = Lord, master) 
North Germanic god of thriving crops 
and peaceful prosperity: the son of — > 
Njord, brother of — > Freyja, and one of 
the — > Vanir. In a temple in Old Uppsala 
there was a statue of the god in his phallic 
aspect as god of fecundity. The Swedish 
royal dynasty of the Ynglinge regarded 
him as their progenitor. In myth he figures 
as the owner of the miraculous ship 
Skidbladnir and goldenbristled boar 
Gullinborsti. The esteem in which Freyr 
was held is evident from his epithets such 
as 'patron of the gods' and 'world-god'. 

Frigg (south German Frija, Lombard 
Frea) Germanic goddess, incorporating 
on the one hand gross sensuality (she is 
accused of adultery) and, on the other 
hand, the maternal principle. Her name is 
translated both as 'she who is loved' and 
also as 'spouse'. She protects life and par- 
takes in the wisdom of her husband — > 
Odin. If she had a specific cult nothing is 
known of it. The Latin dies veneris ('day 
of Venus') was taken over by the Germans 
as 'Frija's day' (Friday). The historian 
Paulus Diaconus mentions the goddess as 
patroness of the Lombards. 

Fudo Myoo Japanese god who wields 
the sword of knowledge in his fight 
against the hate and the greed which are 
characteristic of ignorance. 

Fufluns Etruscan god corresponding 
to the Greek —> Dionysos. The name may 
derive from an Indo-Germanic root 
meaning 'to beget' or 'to swell, overflow'. 
On an altar in Tarquinia we find the cult 
name Pacha given to the god. 

Fujin God of the wind in Shintoism. 
He is shown carrying a sack full of winds 
on his shoulders. 

Fukuro kuju (Japanese = luck, riches, 
long life) Japanese god of good luck, 
portrayed with an exaggeratedly high cra- 
nium. He is often accompanied by a crane 
and a tortoise as symbols of longevity. 

Fulla ('fullness') Germanic goddess, 
attendant in retinue of — ¥ Frigg. The 
second Merseburg charm makes her 
Frigg's sister. 



Fu Shen Chinese god of luck. He is 
usually portrayed in the blue robes of an 
official, with his son on his arm. Often he 
forms a triad along with — > Shou Lao and 
— > Cai Shen. 

Fu-xi The first of the three Chinese 
cultural heroes; he instituted marriage, 
and we also have to thank him for teach- 
ing us how to fish. He married his sister 
— > Nii-gua, thereby ensuring due balance 
in the forces of yin and yang. Nu-gua's 
attribute is the compass while Fu-xi 's is 
the protractor: together the two symbolize 
the construction of the world - the round 
heaven and the square earth. 

Fylgir (or Fylgjur; Old Norse = female 
attendants) In Germanic belief, protec- 
tive spirits attached to individuals. If they 
choose to appear, it is in the form of a 
woman or an animal. They were not the 
object of any sort of cult. 


God G Maya god, so designated in spe- 
cialist literature, who represents — > 
Kukulcan in his solar aspect: possibly the 
nocturnal stage of that aspect. 

Gabija (Gabieta, Gabeta) A spirit of 
fire in Lithuanian mythology, which 
sometimes appears as a goddess. She was 
the mistress of the 'holy fire' to whom 
homage was paid by throwing salt on the 
fire and saying, 'Holy Gabija, be thou 

Gabjauja Lithuanian goddess of corn, 
to whom prayers were said for general 
prosperity and riches. Demoted with the 
coming of Christianity to the status of an 
evil spirit. 

Gabriel (Hebrew = 'the strong one of 
God') In the Bible, an angel who 
appears as a messenger from God: first, 
in Daniel 8: 16-27. In the New Testament, 
it is he who brings Mary the tidings that 
God has chosen her to be the mother of 
his son (Luke 1 : 26-28). In Jewish apoc- 
alyptic literature he figures as an angel of 
retribution and death; in Christianity as an 
archangel together with — > Michael, — > 
Raphael and — > Uriel. In Islamic tradition 
he is called Gabra'il, and is at the apex of 
the angelic host. 

Gad A designation for various benefi- 
cent divinities in ancient north Arabia. 
Gad is really a personification of (good) 
luck, and corresponds to the Greek — > 
Tyche. The name was also used by the 
Nabataeans for a specific god. 

Gaia (Ge = earth) Greek goddess; 
together with Chaos and — ¥ Eros she 
belongs to the first principles of the 

cosmos. From her are born heaven (— > 
Uranos) and sea (—¥ Pontes). Made preg- 
nant by Uranos, she gives birth to the — > 
Titans and the — » Cyclops. Her union 
with the underworld (Tartaros) results in 
the birth of the monster — > Typhon. It was 
in Attica alone that Gaia was of religious 
significance. In Homer, she is invoked in 
oaths along with the sun (— > Helios). In 
art, her beneficent fecundity is often sym- 
bolized by attributes such as a cornucopia 
and the fruits of the earth. 

Galla (Akkadian Gallu) Sumerian 
demon of the underworld. It was by Galla- 
demons that the god of vegetation — » 
Dumuzi was taken to the underworld. 

Gandarewa In the Avesta, a demon 
living in the water who is constantly 
trying to swallow the good works of 
creation; finally he is slain by the hero 

Gandharvas A class of Indian 
demigods, spirits of nature who inhabit 
the heaven of — > Indra, along with the — > 
Apsaras. According to the Rigveda there 
was in the very beginnings a Gandharva 
who united with an Apsara to give birth to 
the first pair of humans (— > Yama and — > 
Yima). At a later date, unspecified 
Gandharvas appear at Indra's court as 
musicians and singers. 

Ganesa (or Ganapati = lord of the host) 
Indian god of the art of writing and of 
wisdom: the son of —¥ ParvatI and — > 
Siva, whose retinue he leads. He is por- 
trayed as having the head of an elephant, 
one tusk and a pot belly. He rides on a rat, 
and in his four hands he holds a thorn, a 
garland of roses, the broken-off second 

66 Gaiiga 

tusk and a bowl with a rice-cake. On 
south Indian monuments he wears a 
crown. In Nepal a form of Ganesa called 
Heramba appears, which has five ele- 
phant heads; while in Thailand the god is 
often depicted with four heads and two 
arms. Ganapati was also taken over by 

Gaiiga The masculine form - Ganges - 
derives from Greek. Indian river-goddess; 
she is depicted with two or four arms. 
In her right hand she holds a water-pot, in 
her left a lotus. The Gahga is supposed 
to emerge from one of — ¥ Visnu's feet and 
to flow into the moon and the starry 

Ganymedes Originally perhaps a 
demonic guardian of the well of life. In 
Greek saga he appears as a beautiful 
youth. —> Zeus falls in love with him, and 
sends his eagle to abduct the youth and 
bring him to Olympus. There, he becomes 
the cup-bearer of the gods, who gives 
them their daily life-giving draught. In the 
late Hellenistic and Roman periods 
Ganymede was transferred to the heavens 
in the shape of Aquarius the Waterbearer. 

Gao Yao (Also known as Ting-jian) 
Proto-Chinese god of judgment; his 

familiar animal was the ram which 
assisted him in the detection of injustice. 

Gapn Old Syrian god who appears as a 
messenger of — > Baal. His name means 
'vine'. He is not mentioned in ritual texts. 

Garm (Old Icelandic Garmr) Mythical 
dog which howls and barks before its cave 
at the onset of Ragnarok, the destruction 
of the world, and which fights with the 
god — > Tyr in the apocalyptic final battle. 

Garmangabi(s) Beneficent goddess 
of the Sueves (Suebi), a Germanic tribe 
who lived in the Neckar area. The second 
component of the name - gabi - is proba- 
bly cognate with 'give, gift' (German, 
'geben, Gabe'), and it figures also in the 
name of a group of matronly goddesses 
whose cult was once practised in the 
Rhineland: Alagabiae, i.e. those who give 
richly. Cf also — > Gefjon. 


(Sanskrit garut = wing) The prince 
of birds in Indian mythology, the enemy 
of snakes and the most fervent devotee of 
Visnu, who rides on his back. His anthro- 
pomorphic body is golden in colour and 

Geb 67 

has the head, the wings and the claws 
of an eagle. Garuda has been interpreted 
as a sun symbol. In Buddhism, the Garudas 
are divine bird-like creatures, and — > 
Gautama is said to have been a Garuda- 
king in a former existence. 

Gatumdu(g) Sumerian goddess, 
daughter of the sky-god — > An. She was 
the local mother goddess of Lagas. 

Gaueko In Basque popular belief and 
mythology the lord of darkness, a spirit of 
the night. He may on occasion prove 
friendly and helpful; but he can also appear 
as a devil. He often manifests himself in 
the shape of a cow or as a gust of wind. 

Gaurl In Indian religion, a good- 
hearted and sympathetic variant of the 
Great Mother. She is, as her name sug- 
gests, the 'white one', contrasting thereby 
with the black — > Kali. 

Gautama Buddha 

His real name was Siddharta of the 
Gautama family (Pali form Gotama); 

poetically he is also called Sakyamuni - 'the 
wise man of Sakya race'. He was able 
to withstand all the temptations put in his 
way by his adversary — > Mara. Gautama 
became the Buddha ('the enlightened 
one') who upon entry into Nirvana severs 
all connection between him and the world 
and who is then inaccessible even to 
prayer. In the course of time, however, he 
was deified and became the — > Buddha 
prototype, the exemplar for all Buddhas, 
both past and future. The —> Bodhisattvas 
and the — ¥ Dhyani-Buddhas are hypostases 
of him. His most important symbols are 
closely connected with his life on earth: 
the footprints (his presence on earth), the 
Bodhi-tree (enlightenment), the wheel (the 
teaching of the way), and the stupa (entry 
into Nirvana). Images of Buddha are char- 
acterized by the usnisa, the raised portion 
of the cranium, and the urna, a radiant 
point (originally a lock of hair) between 
the eyebrows, signifying enlightment. 

Gayomard (Gayo Marta) The first 
human being in Iranian mythology; his 
name means 'mortal life'. According to 
one tradition, it was from his body that 
the parts of the cosmos were fashioned. 
According to another version, his seed 
impregnated the earth from which there 
then emerged the first man and the first 
woman. From Gayomard's decomposing 
body there arose the seven metals. As the 
first mortal being, this primeval human 
will be resurrected. 

Geb (earlier incorrect reading: Seb) 
Egyptian earth-god. The name is probably 
an old word for 'earth', which later fell 
into disuse; in the Pyramid texts we are 
told that the dead enter 'geb'. One myth 
relates how the earth-god copulated 
with the sky-goddess (— ¥ Nut) to beget 
the sun, thus becoming 'father of the 
gods'. The kings of Egypt designated 
themselves as 'heirs of Geb'. When the 

68 Gebeleizis 

god is represented anthropomorphically 
he is usually wearing the crown of Lower 
Egypt on his head. Exceptionally he may 
also be shown with a goose decorating his 
head (in the script, the goose is his deter- 
minative sign). 

Gebeleizis Herodotus mentions this 
god of thunderstorms venerated by the 
Thracians who lived in the Balkans; he 
has been identified with — > Zalmoxis, but 
this is a moot point. 

Gefjon Germanic goddess belonging 
to the Aesir (— > As). Her name seems to 
be connected with the root meaning 'to 
give' (German geben), and she herself 
lives up to her name by functioning as a 
goddess of good fortune and prosperity. 
In Denmark, she herself handles the 
plough. Among the south Germanic tribes 
her counterpart may well have been — > 
Garmangabis. And behind both of these 
goddesses we may well discern the figure 
of the goddess of fertility — > Freyja, who 
indeed bears the epithet 'Gefjon'. 


(pi. of genius) Protective spirits who 
guide human beings. In Etruscan and 
Roman art they were represented as 
naked winged youths. Since the seven- 
teeth century the term has been applied to 

male and female winged figures; and, in 
the art of the ancient east, to hybrid 
beings with the heads of birds who appear 
in a posture of greeting or who are fertil- 
izing the sacred tree, e.g. on Assyrian 
relief tablets and, similarly, on Cretan 
cameos (see illustration). Today, the term 
denotes ghostly beings endowed with 
supernatural powers. 

Genius Roman deity, a personification 
of the creative powers invested in man: 
the female counterpart of Genius is — > 
Juno. Every man was accredited with his 
own genius, representing his male vigour 
and strength; and under Greek influence 
this came later to correspond to — > 
Daimon. In the domestic chapels belong- 
ing to distinguished Roman families in 
Pompeii, the genius of the pater familias 
is depicted as a snake. The belief that 
every place has its tutelary spirit, its 
genius loci, is a product of the Roman 
Empire. — > Genii. 

Gestinanna (Sumerian = vine of 
heaven) Old Mesopotamian goddess, 
sister of the vegetation-god — > Dumuzi, 
and wife of — > Ningiszida. The fact that 
she was equated with the 'book-keeper' of 
the Babylonian underworld —> Beletseri, 
suggests that she too was connected in 
some way with the nether regions. 

Geus Tasan ('fashioner of cattle') In 
old Iranian religion the divine creator 
of cattle, often equated with — ¥ Ahura 

Geus Urvan (also as Gosurvan, Gosurun) 
In Old Iranian religion, the heavenly 
guardian of cattle. In poetry, he himself 
appears as a cow. The name means 'soul 
of the cow'. 


' Jinn 

Gibil Sumerian god of fire; in 
Akkadian (Babylonian) he is called Girra 

Gorgons 69 

or Girru. He was regarded as the bringer 
of light - but also as a fire-raiser. In 
incantations he was invoked to combat 
spells. Even — > Marduk once visited the 
fire-god in order to get his insignia of 
office cleaned when they had been soiled. 

Giants (Gigantes) In Greek mythol- 
ogy, a savage race of giants born from the 
earth (ge genis), implacable adversaries 
of the Olympian gods. They arose from 
the drops of blood spilt on the earth (— > 
Gaia) by the emasculated — > Uranos. It is 
possible that the gigantes were originally 
embodiments of natural earth forces, such 
as volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. In 
their struggle with the gigantes (gigan- 
tomachia) the gods can only win with the 
help of a mortal (— > Herakles). 

Gilgames Early historical king of the 
Sumerian town of Uruk. In his mythologi- 
cal aspect he is shown fighting the heav- 
enly bull and — > Huwawa, the demonic 
ruler of the cedar forest. He engages in a 
fruitless search for eternal life. After his 
deification he was counted among the 
gods of the underworld. The Hittites knew 
the hero under the names of Gis.gim.mas, 
the Hurrians as Galgamis. In texts from 
Asia Minor the name is always written 
with the determinative sign for a god. 

Giltine Lithuanian goddess of death. 
Her name derives from the verb gelti = to 
sting, harm. Clad in white, she approaches 
the house in which the sick person lies; 
then she strangles or suffocates him. 

Glaukos (Greek = bluish-green) A 
sea-god known for his gift of prophecy 
who was very popular among sailors and 
fishermen in the ancient world. The legend 
is that he was once a fisherman himself 
who became a god when he ate of a magic 
herb and jumped into the sea. On occasion, 
he shares with other sea-gods the name 
halios geron ('the old man of the sea'). 

Gluskap (Kluskave) Cultural hero 
among the north-east Algonquin of 
Canada. Born of a virgin, he fights his 
evil twin brother, and, after the great 
flood, he creates a new earth out of a 
piece of mud. Occasionally he is con- 
ceived in the form of a hare. After his 
withdrawal from the world, he lives in the 
northland and continues to work for the 
welfare of the world. 

Glykon Gnostic-Mithraic demon with 
a human head and the body of a snake. 
The snake Glykon was often regarded as 
a reincarnation of — > Asklepios. 

Gnomes In popular belief a group of 
demonic figures who inhabit woods, 
mountains and water. The word may be 
derived from Greek genomoi = earth- 
dwellers, or from Greek gnome = under- 

Goibniu In ancient Ireland the god of 
the blacksmith's craft, whose magic pow- 
ers enabled him to turn out weapons 
which could not fail. The name is derived 
from goban = smith. Grievously woun- 
ded in a battle with the — > Fomore, he was 
restored to health in a fountain of youth. 
Goibniu possessed the mead that gave 
eternal life. In the Welsh tradition the god 
is called Govannon; farmers need his help 
to clean the ploughshare. 

Gong Gong Chinese devil who lets 
loose the great flood and who is the adver- 
sary of the ruling god. He is embodied in 
a black dragon and he is attended by the 
nine-headed, snake-bodied Xiang Yao, 
whose excretions generate evil-smelling 
springs and swamps. 

Gorgons In Greek mythology, the 
three daughters of the sea-god — > 
Phorkys, named Stheno, Euryale and 
Medusa. They were winged creatures, 
with snakes for hair and prominent 

70 Gou Mang and Ru Shou 

tongues. The gorgonaion, a representation 
of the horrifying head of the gorgo, was 
used in temples and at graves to ward off 
evil powers. Alone among the three sisters 
Medusa was mortal, and when — > Perseus 
struck off her head, the goddess — > 
Athene fixed it to her shield. Reference to 
'the gorgon' in the singular is always to 

Gou Mang and Ru Shou The messen- 
gers of the Chinese sky-god: the former 
promises good luck and long life, while 
the second augurs punishment and disas- 
ter. They share the attribute of the double 
dragon. Gou Mang is associated with the 
spring and the east; Ru Shou with autumn 
and the west. 

Govannon Celtic god of the Welsh, 
corresponding to the Irish — > Goibniu. 

Graii (Greek = old women) The 
daughters of the sea-god —> Phorkys, who 
guard the way to the Gorgons. They have 
one eye and one tooth among the three 
of them. 

Grama-devata ('village deity') A 
local tutelary god in India. Such gods 
look after the fields and the village 
boundaries, guard the villagers against 
epidemics and try to meet their personal 

wishes. A rock or stone, unadorned save 
for red colouring, marks the seat of the 

Grannus Gallic god of healing. The 
city of Aquae Granni (Aachen) was a cen- 
tre of his cult. The name may come from 
a Celtic root ghrena, meaning 'hot, 
warm', which would connect the god with 
hot springs. Grannus is one of the gods 
whom Caesar designated as — > Apollo(n). 

Gratiae, Graces (Latin gratia = grace, 
charm) In Roman belief, divine figures 
incorporating youthful grace and joie de 
vivre; they correspond to the Greek — > 
Charites. They symbolize the arts of 
sculpture and poetry. They are mostly 
portrayed as naked, often garlanded and 
with flowers. 

Guar) Di Chinese god of war, patron of 
literature and protector of trade and mer- 
chants. In the Manchu dynasty he was 
particularly venerated because of his war- 
like functions; but in other periods of 
Chinese history he was regarded as the 
guardian of righteousness which protects 
men from strife and evil. In origin, Guan 
Di was an ordinary man called Guan 
Zhong done to death by his adversary, but 
later deified on account of his many and 
signal virtues. 

Guan Yin A female — » Bodhisattva ven- 
erated in China, who developed from — > 
Avalokitesvara. She is enthroned on a 
mountain or an island in the Eastern Sea. 
Guan Yin bestows the blessing of chil- 
dren, helps all beings to attain to the 
enlightenment which brings deliverance, 
and is in general the 'goddess of compas- 
sion'. She is often depicted meditating by 
the seashore; sometimes she has a child 
in her arms. In Japan she is known as 

Guhyasamaja ('secret union') 
Buddhist protective deity (— ♦ Istadevata). 

Gwydyon 71 

In Tantrism, a mystical god of initiation 
ceremonies, with three heads and six arms. 

Gui Xian (Gui) In China, a designation 
for certain demonic beings. The gui com- 
ponent means 'devil'. The gui xian were 
the souls of people who had been 
drowned or who had committed suicide, 
and who could therefore not be reincar- 
nated. They are doomed to wander about 
as evil spirits. One of the gui xian was 
deified (-» Zhong-Kui). 

Gula (Sumerian 'the great one') Old 
Mesopotamian goddess of healing, wife 
of — > Ninurta. In the old Babylonian period 
she was equated with —> Nin'insina, and 
the dog was the symbolical animal of both. 

Gullveig A sorceress belonging to 
the —> Vanir race of gods in Old Norse 
mythology, though with pronounced 
demonic traits. It was through Gullveig 
that the lust for gold entered the world: a 
lust, to which even the Aesir (— > As) suc- 
cumbed. The latter made three unsuccess- 
ful attempts to burn Gullveig. 

Gul-ses (also as Gul-ases) Hittite god- 
desses who always appear in the plural. 
A possible but not universally accepted 
translation of their name is 'scribes' 
or 'determiners (female) of fate'. In the 
Hurrian pantheon they were called 
Hutena. They are the goddesses of fate 
who dispense good and evil, life and death. 
In this function, they are comparable with 
the Greek — > moirai. 

Gurzil A god in the shape of a bull, 
venerated in ancient Tripolitania. One 
tradition relates that he was begot by — > 
Amnion on a cow. 

Guta In Hungarian folklore a demonic 
being, a representative of the seamy side 
of things. He strikes down his victims. 

Gwydyon A god venerated in ancient 
Wales who was born in a mysterious way. 
He was concerned with war and with 
poetry. He also shows characteristics of 
an underworld god: thus, in later folklore 
the Milky Way - seen as the way taken by 
the dead - was named Caer Gwydyon. 


Ha The old Egyptian god of the west- 
ern desert: hence his epithet 'Lord of the 
Libyans'. As god of the west, he plays a 
part in the cult of the dead; and on sar- 
cophagi of the Herakleopolites period he 
is shown seated at the right hand of the 
defunct person, i.e. at the west side. He is 
depicted in purely human form, and in the 
script he bears the determinative of the 
desert on his head. 

Hachiman In origin, a Japanese 
emperor (named Ojin) who was subse- 
quently venerated as a god of war. His 
sacred creature is the dove. 

Hades (Aidoneus, from Greek aides = 
the invisible one) Greek god of the 
underworld, son of — > Kronos and of — > 
Rheia, husband of — > Persephone. His 
name is no doubt connected with the 
magic cap conferring invisibility which 
Hades possessed. As Pylartes ('closer 
of gates') the god watches over the 
entrance to his realm, to ensure that no 
one who enters can turn and go back. His 
cult seems to have been confined to 
Pylos. As the interior of the earth has 
treasure hidden in it, he was also called 
Plutos (plutos = riches) and coupled with 
— > Plutos. His Roman counterpart is — > 

Hadur (Hungarian had = army, iir = 
master) In the first half of the nine- 
teenth century, this designation was used 
in Hungary for the War Lord of the 
spreading light, in contrast to — > Armany 
This is a poetic recapitulation of older tra- 
ditions, according to which the supreme 
god of the Hungarians was comparable 
with the Roman god of war — > Mars. 

Hah Egyptian god, personification of 
infinity and eternity. He was regarded as 
the bearer of heaven, and is accordingly 
depicted with arms outstretched, often 
supporting the sky. His image provides 
the hieroglyph of the word for 'million'. 
As an ornamental symbol the figure of 
Hah carries a palm-frond (a year-sign) 
on his head or in his hands. He is often 
associated with the god of the atmosphere 

Hainuwele A — > dema-deity in the 
mythology of the Wemale people on the 
island of Ceram in the Moluccas. She is a 
divine maiden who arose from a coconut 
and who was slain by men in the primeval 
period. From her dismembered and 
buried body there arose the first fruits of 
the earth. With the death of Hainuwele 
man too became mortal. 

Hala A Kassite goddess of healing, 
corresponding to the Babylonian — > Gula. 

du-l Halasa A pre-Islamic god in 
southwest Arabia, subsequently demoted 
to the rank of idol. His cult symbol seems 
to have been a white stone. 

Haldi Tutelary god of the kingdom of 
Urartu (ninth - seventh century BC in 

Halki Hittite god of corn; his name 
means 'barley'. On occasion, he appears 
also as the tutelary deity of wine. 

Hammon The god of the setting sun 
worshipped by the ancient Lybians. He 
was depicted with the horns of a ram and 
may coincide conceptually with the oasis 
god Ammon. There is no connection with 
the Punic god — > Baal-Hammon. 

Harachte 73 

Hananim Old Korean god of the sky, 
and supreme god: he moves the stars, 
rewards good and punishes evil. 

Hannahanna Hittite goddess of birth, 
and mother goddess. The word hanna 
means 'grandmother'. In the cuneiform 
script, taken over by the Babylonians, she 
is called Dingirmah (= exalted deity) or 
Nintu (= mistress of birth). The bee 
serves her. In myth she plays a part in the 
search for a vanished god. 


(also Hanumat = he who has strong jaws) 
In India, an ape venerated as a god. Indra 
hurled a thunderbolt at him and smashed 
his left jaw, because he tried to grab the 
sun (believing it was something to eat). 
Hanuman was regarded as the patron 
saint of learning. In the Ramayana he fig- 
ures as the minister of the apeking 
Sugriva, and the loyal companion of — ¥ 
Rama in the war against the island of 
Lanka; pictures of Hanuman show him 
trampling the overthrown goddess of 
Lanka under his left foot. 

Hanwasuit Tutelary goddess of the 
Hittite throne. It is probable that her 

original locus was the royal city of Zalpa 
on the Black Sea. From her the king 
received his mandate. 

Han Xiang-zi One of the 'eight 
immortals' in Chinese popular belief 
(— ¥ Ba Xian). He can make flowers grow 
and bloom at will. His attribute is a flute 
or a basket of flowers. 

Haoma In Old Iranian religion, a dei- 
fied plant from whose sap an intoxicating 
drink was extracted, which was used in 
sacrificial ceremonies (cf. — ¥ Soma in 
India). Haoma is lord of all curative 
plants, and confers immortality. 

Hapi (1) One of the four sons of — ¥ 
Horus; corpses - especially the entrails - 
were placed under their protection, and 
Hapi, who was portrayed as an ape, was 
in charge of the lungs. The north is the 
heavenly quarter allotted to him. 

Hapi (2) Egyptian god, a personifica- 
tion of the Nile, represented as a well- 
nourished man. Although he was described 
as 'father of the gods', no specific cen- 
tres were devoted to his cult. He is usu- 
ally depicted as one making sacrifice 
(i.e. bringing gifts) to gods and kings. 


74 Harendotes 

Egyptian god of the morning sun. The 
name means 'Horus of the horizon', i.e. 
of the place where the sun (— > Horus) 
rises. Harachte was represented as a 
falcon, and he tended to coalesce with 
the sun-god — > Re in the figure of 
Re-Harachte (occurs also in the form 
Re-Hor-achti) who was especially vener- 
ated at Heliopolis. In one temple founded 
by Ramses III he is invoked as 'mighty 
god, lord of heaven'. 

Harendotes ('Horus, who protects his 
father') in Egyptian texts, a special form 
of — > Horus who ensures the continued sur- 
vival of his father — > Osiris in the under- 
world. Thus Harendotes became one of the 
protective gods who surround the dead 
person on the walls of the sarcophagus. 

Harihara A designation for — > Visnu 
(Hari) and — > Siva (Hara) as a twin divin- 
ity: in Campuchea his image has two 
heads. When the two gods are represented 
in one single figure, the right side, with 
right hand holding a trident, is Siva, the 
left side, with a wheel in the hand, is 

Hariti (Japanese Karitei-mo; Chinese 
He-li Di) This female demon used to 
eat children but through the influence of 
the Buddha she turned into a protector of 
children and a goddess who blessed cou- 
ples with the gift of children. Her attribute 
is the pomegranate - a symbol of fertility. 

Harmachis The Greek form of an 
Egyptian name which means 'Horus on 
the horizon'. It was applied to the Sphinx 
of Gizeh (originally the image of King 
Khafre) which was later taken to repre- 
sent the matutinal appearance of the sun- 
god — > Horus. 

Harmerti ('Horus of the two eyes') 
Egyptian tutelary god of Seden (in the 
delta) who denotes — > Horus as the falcon 

of heaven. The two eyes are sun and 
moon. A triumphant hero, he does battle 
with —> Apophis. 

Haroeris (in Plutarch Harueris) The 
Egyptian form of the name, Her-ur, 
means 'the elder Horus'. The designation 
serves to distinguish the old falcon-god 
— > Horus from the Horus of the Osiris 
myth: that is to say, the god is a theologi- 
cal device. Haroeris is a sky-god, and in 
the tradition of Kom Ombo he is the son 
of the sun-god — > Re. In the sequel, he 
becomes indistinguishable from — > Su. 
Because he fights to regain the lost eye of 
the sun, he became the tutelary god of 

Harpies (Greek harpyiai = the snatchers) 
Female malevolent demons in Greek 
mythology. They are variously named - 
Aello, Aellopus, Podarge, Okypete, 
Kelaino - but all the names suggest the 
stormy wind. They are described as 
hideous hybrids, part woman, part bird. 

Harpokrates (Egyptian Hor-pe-chrod = 
Horus the child) Veneration of — » 
Horus as a child was very widespread, 
especially in the late period, and in the 
Graeco-Roman era he was one of the 
most popular deities. A favourite method 
of representation shows him as a solar 
child sitting in the lotus flower. The for- 
mations Hor-Amun and Harpokranum 
(or Harkpokrammon) point to a coales- 
cence with — > Amun. In the late Egyptian 
period the god was regarded as a giver 
of fertility, especially of pulses, and 
was accordingly depicted with a bowl, 
which became a cornucopia in the Greek 

Harpre ('Horus the sun') Egyptian 
god, the child of — > Month and of — > 
Rat-taui, worshipped in Hermonthis. 
His function was to protect the king from 
illness and misfortune. 

Haubas 75 

Harsaphes ('he who is upon his lake') 
Greek form of the Egyptian Herisef, the 
ram-god of Herakleopolis. Originally, 
the primeval creator, who emerges 
from the primeval deluge (lake); accord- 
ing to the myth, the lake arises from the 
blood of the god. In the Middle Kingdom, 
Harsaphes is often taken as a manifesta- 
tion of Osiris. Later, he is equated with 
the sun-god — > Re. 

Harsiesis (Harsiese = Horus, son of Isis) 
Egyptian god, a specific form of — > 
Horus, received by —> Isis from the dead 
— > Osiris, whom she protects from all 
dangers during his childhood. In necro- 
mantic texts Harsiesis appears as a sort of 
protective god. 

Harun and Haruna Water-spirits in 
Morocco; they can assume the form of 
snakes. To placate them, people throw 
pieces of bread or cous-cous into the 

Hasam(m)eli The Hittite god of black- 
smiths and the art of wrought iron. A 
certain tree was sacred to him, but exactly 
which tree is not known. 

Hathor Egyptian sky-goddess. Her 
name means 'house of Horus', where 
'house' may be taken to denote both the 
cosmic house (heaven) and the womb. At 
an early period, Hathor was regarded as 
the mother of the sun-god — > Horus, until 
replaced in this function by — > Isis. 
Thanks to the conception, prevalent in the 
Nile delta, of the sky as an enormous cow, 
the goddess herself was portrayed in the 
form of a cow. Mostly, however, she is 
depicted anthropomorphically, in which 
case she bears the cow's horns on her head 
with the solar disc between them. She is 
also the goddess of dancing, of music and 
love; and in this capacity her main attrib- 
ute is the sistrum, a kind of rattle. An 
ancient tree cult is also connected with 

Hathor - she is 'queen of the date-palm' 
and 'queen of the sycamore' - and she 
dispenses food and drink to the dead. 

Hatmehit ('first of the fishes') 
Egyptian goddess, the centre of whose 
cult was at Mendes. She is portrayed in 
anthropomorphic form, and she bears a 
fish (dolphin?) on her head. 

Hatuibwari Hybrid being, half divine, 
half demonic snake, on the island of San 
Cristoval in Melanesia. She has a human 
torso, four eyes and four breasts, in order 
to suckle all created creatures. On her 
back she has two wings. It is widely 
believed that the winged snake fertilizes 
the mothers of priests. This snake-like 
being can also appear under the name of 
Agunua, and it is from him that the 
human race derives. 

Haubas (Hobas) A pre-Islamic god 
frequently mentioned in Sabaean (south 
Arabian) inscriptions. It has been sug- 
gested that he may represent a particular 
form of — > Attar. 

76 Haukim 

Haukim Old South Arabian deity. The 
name comes from the root HKM = 'to be 
wise' or 'to pronounce judicially'. 

Haurvatat ('health') A personifica- 
tion belonging to the — > Amesa Spentas. 
Haurvatat is also associated with life after 

Hayagriva ('Horse's neck') One of the 
Buddhist — ¥ Krodhadevatas. He is of dwar- 
fish stature, with a pot belly and a horse's 
head. In Indian literature he is regarded as 
an avatar of — ¥ Visnu, in Buddhism as an 
emanation of — ¥ Amitabha or of — ¥ 
Aksobhya. In Tibet, he belongs to the pro- 
tective deities who see to it that demons 
are kept at bay. 

Hazzi Mountain god of the Hittites and 
the Hurrians. He forms part of the retinue 
of the god of weather, and he was invoked 
in Hittite state treaties as god of oaths. As 
a mountain - geographically, Mount 
Sapon near Ugarit - Hazzi is the seat of 
the gods. 

Hebat (Hepat, Hapatu) The chief god- 
dess of the Hurrians, 'Queen of heaven' 
and wife of the weather-god — ¥ Tesub. 
She was also taken into the Hittite pan- 
theon and then frequently equated with 
the sun-goddess — ¥ Arinna. She is por- 
trayed as standing on a lion or a panther; 
sometimes she is shown sitting on a 
throne, wearing the pointed regal cap. 

Hebe (Greek = 'freshness of youth') 
Daughter of — > Zeus and of — ¥ Hera, 
Greek goddess of youth. She is active as 
the cup-bearer of the gods, and she is the 
wife of the deified — ¥ Herakles. Her 
Roman counterpart was — ¥ Juventas. 

He Bo (also known as Bing-yi) In 
China, the divine ruler over all rivers; also 
called 'River Duke'. It is said that he 
weighed himself down with stones and 

threw himself into the river, thus achiev- 
ing immortality. Until the end of the Zhou 
Dynasty (256 BC) a maiden was sacri- 
ficed to him every year by being thrown 
into the river as his bride. 

Hedammu Snake demon of the 
Hurrians. He lives in the sea and is insa- 
tiably voracious. 

Hedetet The scorpion-goddess in the 
Egyptian Book of the Dead. As 'daughter 
of Re' she merges into the figure of —¥ 

Heimdall (Old Icelandic Heimdallr) 
Germanic god who acts as watchman of 
heaven. His dwelling is called Himinbjorg 
('heavenly mountain'). He is the son of 
nine giant maidens (held to be daughters 
of the Aesir (— > As)). The etymological 
derivation of the name is uncertain; at 
one time the meaning 'the brightly shin- 
ing one' was proposed which would 
make Heimdall a god of light or a sun- 
god. Another proposal was based on com- 
parison with a poetical word for 'ram' - 
heimdali: Heimdall would then figure as 
the focal point for a primitive agrarian 
cult. Yet another suggestion - that he was 
the progenitor of the human race - is 
based on a passage in the Voluspa. As 
'watchman of the gods', Heimdall stands 
at the bridge Bifrost (the Milky Way?) 
whence he announces the onset of 
Ragnarok by blowing the gjallarhorn. 
This juxtaposition of horn and world-tree 
has led to yet another interpretation of 
Heimdall - as a personification of the 
axis mundi. 

Heitsi-Eibib National hero of the 
Hottentot people in South Africa. He is 
invoked as 'grandfather' and he grants the 
hunter luck in the chase. More than one 
place is cited as the scene of his death, 
and at all of these sites - each of them 
seen as his grave - a heap of stones is 

Hemsut 77 

erected in his honour. In terms of 
comparative religion he is probably best 
classified as a kind of bush-spirit. 


A goddess in Greek mythology who origi- 
nally hailed from Asia Minor (Caria). She 
does not appear in Homer. She is a chthonic 
deity, the mistress of all sorts of nocturnal 
nastiness, including necromancy. Her 
ghostly aspect is indicated in her epithet 
Antaia ('she who encounters you'): on her 
nocturnal hunt she could spell disaster for 
those who met her. She has snakes in her 
hair, she carries a torch, and is attended by 
howling dogs. In spite of all this, she was 
a popular goddess, and in Athens there was 
a small altar to her in front of every house. 
Hekate was also seen as the goddess of 
cross-roads. In this capacity she was called 
Enodia or Trioditis, and was then depicted 
as three-headed or with three bodies. 

Heket Egyptian goddess in the form of 
a frog (a symbol of life and fertility). She 
ranked as a primeval goddess and tutelary 
goddess of childbirth. In the town of Kus 
she was revered as the mother of — ¥ 

Hel (Old Norse = hell) In Old 
Germanic mythology, the name of the 
realm of the dead and of its queen. Hel is 

the daughter of — > Loki and the giantess 
Angrboda; and as the sister of — ¥ Fenrir 
and of the — ¥ Midgard-snake, she has 
demonic character. Hel is entitled to claim 
dominion over all those who die in the 
land except those who fall in battle. Even 
the gods must tread the 'way of Hel' - like 
— ¥ Balder after his early death. 

Helene Daughter of — ¥ Zeus and of — > 
Leda, sister of the — ¥ Dioskuroi. In origin, 
a goddess of vegetation, and honoured in 
some places as a tree divinity (Dendritis): 
in Sparta, the plane tree was sacred to her. 
The myth tells how she was abducted by 
the Trojan prince Paris, an act which led 
to the outbreak of the Trojan war. 



Helios Greek sun-god, the son of 
the — ¥ Titan — ¥ Hyperion and the female 
Titan Theia; brother of the moon-god — ¥ 
Selene. Helios is he who sees all and 
hears all, and who is invoked as witness to 
an oath sworn. As god of light he can 
make the blind see - but equally he can 
strike sinners blind. He played little part 
in Greek religious observance, though 
he was worshipped on Rhodes and, to 
some extent, in the Peloponnese. In art, 
Helios was often represented driving a 
chariot drawn by four (often winged) 
horses, his head surrounded by a halo of 
rays. In late classical times he was 
equated with — ¥ Apollon. His Roman 
counterpart was — ¥ Sol. 

Hemen A falcon-god venerated in the 
Egyptian city of Hesfun (Asphynis). 
Thought to be identical with — ¥ Haroeris. 



Hemsut (Hemuset) Egyptian god- 
desses of fate, female counterparts of — ¥ 
Ka, who were also seen as protective 
spirits. They were supposed to take a 
new-born child into their arms. Their 

78 Hendursanga 

head-dress comprises a shield with two 
arrows transfixing it; the arrows represent 
the force which is transmitted by the 

Hendursanga A Sumerian god, con- 
cerned inter alia with the proper func- 
tioning of the judicial system and the 
nation's laws. King Gudea named him 
'herald of the land of Sumer'. He corre- 
sponds to the Akkadian god — > Isum. 

Heng E (Change-e) Chinese goddess of 
the moon, a younger sister of the river god 
— > He Bo. After stealing the pill of immor- 
tality from her husband, the sun-god — > 
Shen Yi, she fled to the moon, where she 
has lived ever since as a toad. She is rep- 
resented in art wearing regal garments; in 
her right hand she carries the disc of the 
moon. Heng E is a symbolical figure for 
the cold, dark female principle (yin). 

Hephaistos (Latin Hephaestus) Greek 
god of fire, of smiths and craftsmen. The 
son of — > Zeus and of — » Hera. As he was 
lame when he came into the world, his 
mother threw him out of Olympus. In 
his underworld smithy he fashions pre- 
cious weapons and implements, e.g. the 
sceptre of Zeus, the chariot of — > Helios 
and the aegis of — > Athena. In his work, 
he is helped by the —> Cyclops. In origin, 
Hephaistos was a god of Asia Minor; and 
on the island of Lemnos he was revered as 
the embodiment of the fire which breaks 
out of the earth. At the end of the sixth 
century BC his cult reached Athens. The 
Romans identified him with — ¥ Vulcanus. 

Hera (Here) Greek goddess, daughter 
of — > Kronos and of — > Rheia, sister and 
wife of — > Zeus, the king of the gods. She 
is the mother of —> Ares, — > Hephaistos, 
— > Eileithyia and of — > Hebe. She keeps a 
jealous eye on her divine husband, whose 
amorous liaisons infuriate her. Hera was 
invoked as the guardian of wedlock and 

she also figured as goddess of childbirth. 
In Athens and on the island of Samos her 
union with Zeus was celebrated as 'holy 
wedlock' (hieros gamos). She was a par- 
ticular object of veneration for women, 
and her epithet was teleia, i.e. 'she who 
brings fulfilment'. The main centre of her 
cult was in Argos, and hence she was also 
known as Argeia. Her sacred animal was 
the cow, and among her attributes were the 
peacock and the insignia of her status as 
queen of the gods, the diadem and sceptre. 
Her Roman counterpart was — > Juno. 


(Greek = 'made famous by (the land of) 
Hera') Sonof— > Zeus, the father of the 
gods, and the mortal Alkmene. Jealous as 
usual, the god's wife — > Hera dispatched 
two snakes to finish the infant Herakles 
off, but he strangled them in his cradle. 
The twelve labours (dodekathlos) in the 
service of King Eurystheus, ending with 
his conquest of — > Kerberos, the hound of 
hell, and his voluntary death on the pyre 
on Mount Oite, mark his progress from 

Hermes 79 

hero to immortal; finally he is received 
into Olympus and — » Hebe is given to 
him as his wife. In his aspect as 
kallinikos, the radiant victor in all forms 
of contest, he became the national hero of 
the Greeks. Among the ordinary people 
he was very popular as someone one 
could turn to in need, and a protector 
against all sorts of unpleasantness 
(alexikalos). Young people especially saw 
in him their protector, and they called him 
Herakles Enagonios. The cult of this 
demi-god was also widespread in Italy 
(— > Hercules). Among his attributes is the 
skin of the Nemean lion. 

Hercules The Latin name of the Greek 
— > Herakles. The demi-god had himself 
travelled far and wide, and it was fitting 
that he should become god of trade and 
traffic in goods and patron of traders. In 
Rome's imperial age, as the invincible 
conqueror of all difficulties (Hercules 
invictus) and the benefactor of mankind, 
he was magnified into the epitome of all 
the imperious and imperial virtues. 

Herensugue Among the Basques, a 
devilish spirit who appears in the shape of 
a snake, though one tradition gives him 
seven heads and the ability to fly. 

Hermanubis In the cult of Isis, the 
Egyptian god of the dead — > Anubis was 
united in one figure with the Greek god 
who guided the souls of the dead — » 
Hermes. The priests of Hermanubis, the 
resultant amalgam, wore the dog's head of 
Anubis, and carried the herald's staff (the 
kerykeion) of Hermes. 

Hermaphrodites Son of Hermes and 
of — > Aphrodite. He was passionately 
loved by the spring-nymph Salmakis, so 
much so that their bodies merged and 
united forever, thus giving rise to an 
androgynous being. The cult of this twin 
divinity (which may have ancient oriental 

antecedents) reached Athens by way of 


One of the most popular of all Greek gods; 
the son of — ¥ Zeus and the mountain 
nymph — > Maia. Sacred to him were the 
piles of stones erected in ancient Greece to 
guide travellers - hence, presumably, his 
name (Greek hermaion = pile of stones). 
In front of Greek houses stone pillars used 
to stand (hermeri) in which Hermes was 
supposed to reside in order to protect the 
dwelling from harm. In this capacity, the 
god was known as Pylaios or Propylaios. 
Hermes is the messenger of the gods, 
equipped with herald's staff (kerykeion), 
winged shoes and hat; he is protector of 
tradesmen and travellers - but also of 
thieves. The myth relates how Hermes 
while still a small boy, stole a herd of cat- 
tle belonging to his brother — ¥ Apollon. In 
his aspect of psychopompos he leads the 
souls of the dead into the beyond. He is 
also 'the good shepherd' and is often por- 
trayed carrying a ram under his arm or 

80 Hermes Trismegistos 

over his shoulder (kriophoros = ram- 
bearer). As god of herds and flocks he has 
the epithet Nomios. He has in addition a 
happy relationship with music, and is said 
to have invented the lyre. His Roman coun- 
terpart was — ¥ Mercurius. 

Hermes Trismegistos (Greek = Hermes 
the thrice great) The Greek name for 
— > Thot, the Egyptian god of writing and 
learning. As the putative founder of phi- 
losophy and mysticism he was also 
known as Hermes Logios. In late antiq- 
uity he was regarded as the harbinger of 
the one true God and creator of the world. 
His role in hermetic literature is that of 
a sage and legislator. 

Hermod(u)r A deified hero in the 
north Germanic myth of — > Balder. After 
the murder of Balder, he rides to — > Hel as 
a messenger of the gods, to ascertain 
whether there is any possibility of 
Balder's return from the underworld. 
Hermod and the Danish king Heremod in 
the Beowulf saga are probably one and 
the same. 

Heron A god who appears on Egyptian 
monuments of the Ptolemaic and Roman 
periods; he is shown as a rider who is 
bringing a libation to a rampant snake. 
This is very probably the horseman god 
— > Heros, who was worshipped in Thrace 
and Asia Minor and who was brought by 
the troops of Alexander the Great and the 
Diadochoi to Egypt. 

Heros A Thracian god represented as a 
horseman who makes his appearance as 
the conqueror of a monster. He was also a 
god of the dead, and as such his image was 
used on funerary steles. His name is cog- 
nate with the Greek word heros = hero. 

Heruka Buddhist god, an emanation 
of — > Aksobhya. In Tibet, he is reck- 
oned as one of the protective deities 

(— » Istadevatas). As normally represented, 
he is three-eyed, shows his teeth and has 
tousled hair; he has a severed human head 
and he is smeared with ashes, and he sits 
or dances on a corpse. In some represen- 
tations he appears with his female partner 
(— > Prajfia) in the Yab-yum posture: 
in this case he bears the name Hevajra 
(= Oh Vajra!). A particular form he may 
adopt is that of Saptaksara. Inter alia, 
Heruka confers Buddhahood and protects 
the world from the forces of evil. 

Hesat ('the grim one', 'the wrathful one') 
Divine white cow: she was supposed to be 
'the first of the cows' and was later asso- 
ciated with — > Isis. In the Egyptian texts 
she appears as the mother of — > Anubis 
and of —¥ Imiut, and she provides the new- 
born king with his lactic nourishment. 

Hesperides Greek nymphs who guard 
the tree with the golden apples in the gar- 
den of the gods, along with the dragon — > 
Ladon. They were supposed to be daugh- 
ters of the night (— > Nyx) or of the giant 
-^ Atlas. 

Hestia (Greek = hearth) Greek goddess 
of the heart and its fire: daughter of — > 
Rronos and of — ¥ Rheia. The hearth was 
the sacred focus of the household, the 
central point which vouch-safed protec- 
tion: and here a small sacrifice was 
made to the goddess before meals. 
The corresponding figure in the Roman 
pantheon was — > Vesta. 

Hetepet An Egyptian cult centre in 
the north of Heliopolis. In the theology of 
Heliopolis the goddess 'Queen of 
Hetepet' is identified with the 'divine 
hand' of Iuesae. From the eighteenth dyn- 
asty onwards, she merges into the figure 
of —> Hathor. 

He Xian-gu The only female in the 
group of the 'eight immortals' (— > Ba 

Hlodyn 81 

Xian). She is usually shown holding a 
lotus blossom; often also with a peach 
(symbol of immortality) or a ladle - this 
last in token of her function as patron 
goddess of housewives. 

Hez-ur Egyptian baboon-god; 'the 
great white one'. Even in the Old 
Kingdom, he was taken to be a particular 
form of — > Thot. 

Hiisi Karelian (east Finnish) forest- 
god, later demoted to the status of forest- 
spirit or troll. The word 'hiisi' is now used 
to mean 'devil' in a diluted sense. 

Hike (another reading is Heka) In 
ancient Egypt, the personification of the 
magical properties which are inherent in 
the gods. Theological speculation made 
Hike the eldest son of the primeval god — ¥ 
Atum, with whose creative organs (heart 
and tongue) Hike was further identified. 
Hike even had his own shrines in On and 
near Memphis. It is noteworthy that doc- 
tors liked to call themselves 'priests of 
Hike': in other words they wanted to 
invoke his magic powers in the treatment 
of their patients. 

Hilal (Hillaliy) The name means 'new 
moon', and denoted the moon-god, espe- 
cially in his aspect as new moon, in 
ancient Arabia. 

Himavat (Sanskrit himavan = bearing 
snow) Personification of the Himalaya 
mountains. This mountain god is the 
father of — > Parvati and of the — > Ganga. 

Hina In Polynesia, a woman of semi- 
divine status who appears in the moon; 
sometimes she is elevated to the rank of 
moon-goddess. She appears as the mother 
or the wife of the culture-hero — > Maui. 

Hine-nui-te-po The Maori goddess of 
the underworld who rules the spirits and 
sees to it that the dread — > Whiro does not 

harm them. When — > Tane forced his way 
into her body, she squashed him with her 
sexual organ - and thus death entered the 

Hinkon God of hunting and lord of the 
animals among the Tungus tribes who live 
on the Yenisei river in Siberia. 

Hinokagutsuchi The Japanese fire- 
god. When he was born from the goddess 
— > Izanami, she went up in flames - a 
metamorphosis which is linked with 
the death of the old year and the birth of 
the new. 

Hintubuhet (Hin, Hina = woman) 
The supreme being venerated on the 
island of New Ireland in Melanesia. In 
spite of her name she is an androgynous 
being, as both parties to a marriage 
invoke her as progenitor in terms of their 
own sex: in one aspect she is equated with 
the male sun and the male butterfly 
Talmago, in the other aspect she is 
equated with the female moon and the 
female butterfly Heba. 

Hiranyagarbha (Sanskrit = womb of 
gold) In the Rigveda, the unnamed god 
of creation, who subsequently appears as 
— > Prajapati. In later Sanskrit literature 
the name is used to denote — > Brahman. 


Narasirh ha 



Hittavainen (Hittauanin) The god of 
the hare-hunters of the Karelian (east 
Finnish) people, mentioned in an ancient 
list of gods. The etymology of the word is 
uncertain; it may be connected with 
Finnish hitto = devil, or it may be derived 
from the name of the patron saint of 
hunters, Hubertus, who was introduced 
into these parts along with Christianity. 

Hlodyn (Hlodin) Old Icelandic goddess 
of the earth and of fertility: one tradition 

82 Hludana 

makes her the mother of — > Thor, a role 
allotted in other traditions to — > Fjorgyn. 
There is probably a connection here, 
both etymological and semantic, with the 
name of the west German goddess 
Hludana; and the latter has been seen 
as the matrix for the figure of Frau — > 



H6d(u)r North Germanic god, son of 
— > Odin. His name means 'battle, strug- 
gle' but nothing about him suggests a 
war-like character. In the myth, Hodur is 
blind; and he judges people not by their 
outward appearance but by their inner 
worth. Incited by the malicious — > Loki, 
he unwittingly slays his brother — > 

Holle Like — > Bercht, originally the 
leader of a more or less demonic band of 
spirits (named as Hollen or Hulden), who 
are popularly believed to be sometimes 
friendly but at other times punitive. Holle 
lets the newly born emerge from her 
underworld realm, where she also receives 
the souls of the dead. When she shakes her 
cushions, it snows. Bishop Burchard of 
Worms (c. 1000) knew about Frau Holle, 
and translated her name as — > Diana, after 
the Roman goddess. It is possible that 
Frau Holle is connected with the old 
Germanic goddess Hludana (— > Hlodyn). 

Hong and Ha 


Honir North Germanic god who had a 
hand in the origin of the human race, 
along with — ¥ Odin and — > Lodur (Loki ?): 
Odin gave the first men life, Lodur gave 
them language, sight and hearing, while 
Honir gave them understanding and feel- 
ings. Honir was reputed to be the fastest 
runner and the best of hunters. 

Honos (Latin = honour) A Roman 
god, the personification of military 

renown. He is shown as a young man with 
a lance and a cornucopia. 

Horae (Greek horai) The Greek god- 
desses of the three seasons: Spring, 
Summer and Winter. Originally they 
represented the seasonal forces of growth. 
The Athenians called them Thallo 
(goddess of blossom), Auxo (goddess of 
growth) and Karpo (goddess of ripened 
fruit). According to Hesiod they are the 
daughters of — > Themis, and have ethical 
significance: their names in this version 
are — > Eunomia (law and order), — > Dike 
(justice) and — > Eirene (peace). 

Horagalles A god venerated by the 
Lapps: 'the old man', usually portrayed 
carrying two hammers. Reindeer used to 
be sacrificed to him. He is actually Thor, 
the god of thunder, borrowed from the 
Old Norse religion. 

Hor-Hekenu ('Horus of ointments') A 
specific form of —> Horus worshipped in 
Bubastis; the burning heat surrounding 
him drives the powers of evil away. As 
'lord of protection' he personifies the pro- 
tective ointment and the supernatural pow- 
ers attributed to it. He is usually portrayed 
in human form with the head of a falcon. 

Horus Egyptian god, whose name - 
meaning 'he who is above', 'he who is 
afar' - would seem to indicate a sky-god. 
He was depicted as a falcon, with the sun 
and the moon as his eyes. At the very 
beginning of the historical period, the king 
was equated with this divine falcon; and 
every Pharaoh's name had the 'Horus 
name' as one of its elements. In line with 
the dualism characteristic of Egyptian 
thought, the mythological clash with — ¥ 
Seth (who deprives Horus of one of his 
eyes) leads to a division of their sphere of 
power: Horus is lord of Lower Egypt, Seth 
of Upper Egypt. As the bearer of the solar 
eye, Horus is closely connected with the 

Huitzilopochtli 83 

sun-god — > Re (cf. also — > Harachte). 
A special significance attached to Horns 
as a child (— > Harpokrates, — > Harsiesis). 
In Edfu, the god of light was conceived 
in the form of the winged sun (— ¥ Behedti). 
Horus is the adversary of the Typhonic 
powers, incorporated for the Egyptians 
in the hippopotamus and the crocodile; 
and he exercises the specific function of 
a protective deity in the form of — > Hor- 
Hekenu. The offspring of Horus included 
— > Duamutef, — > Hapi, — > Imset and — > 

Hotei One of the Japanese gods of 
good fortune (— » Shichi-Fukujin). He is 
seen as the friend of the weak and of chil- 
dren. Typically, his fat paunch is bare - a 
symbol of friendly good cheer. 

Hu and Sia The constant companions 
of the Egyptian sun-god — > Re. Hu is the 
personification of the word or 'utterance' 
which the creator spoke to bring all things 
to life. Sia is the personification of the 
knowledge and understanding which 
make the work of creation possible. 

Huang-di ('the Yellow Emperor') 
Mythological Chinese Emperor and 
culture-hero. Among many other achieve- 
ments he invented the wheel, thus 
enabling men to build carts. In his fight 
against the rebel Chi-yu he was assisted 
by the winged dragon. The goddess — > Ba 
sometimes figures as his daughter. 

Huang Fei-hu ('yellow flying tiger') 
Known also, in abbreviated form, as Fei. 
A Chinese god, lord of the sacred moun- 
tain of Tai Shan, in eastern China. 
Originally a chthonic deity in the form of 
a one-eyed bull with a snake's tail, he sub- 
sequently became the judge of the dead 
whose souls call at the sacred mountain. 

Hubal Pre-Islamic god venerated in 
central Arabia. His anthropomorphic 
image in red carnelian still stands in the 
Ka'aba in Mecca; and it is possible that 
the black stone of the Ka'aba is connected 
with him in some way. The god was 
famous for his oracle (performed with 
seven arrows). 

Huh and Hauhet — > Ogdoad 

Huiracocha (Viracocha) The supreme 
god of the Inca empire. Traditionally he 
was connected with Tiahuanaco, whose 
importance as a cult site extends back into 
pre-Inca times. According to the myth 
he was born of a virgin, and he often 
displays solar characteristics. His epithet 
Pachamac designates him as 'creator of 
the world'. Those who fail to do fitting 
homage to the god are destroyed by fire or 

Huitzilopochtli ('humming-bird of the 
south') Tribal god of the Aztecs; also 
a solar god. His animal manifestation 
(nahualli) is the humming-bird, which is 
also a symbol of the sun; his weapon is 
the 'turquoise snake', the symbol of 
earthly and heavenly fires. The myth tells 

84 Humban 

how he arose from the body of the earth- 
goddess — > Coatlicue. He is the adversary 
of the moon and the stars. Huitzilopochtli 
embodies the morning sun, the day-time 
sky, the summer and the south, all of 
which makes him the luminous adversary 
of the dark — > Tezcatlipoca. 

Humban (Huban) A god venerated in 
Elam. He can be equated with the 
Mesopotamian — > Enlil. 

Hunab Ku Supreme god and creator in 
the Maya pantheon: he is 'the god set over 
the gods', invisible and incomprehensi- 
ble, corresponding to the Aztec — > 
Omoteotl. He had to yield in significance 
to his son — > Itzamna. 

Hunapu (Hunahpu) A god of the 
Quiche Indians in Guatemala: the son of 
— > Hun-Hunapu and a virgin. Together 
with his twin brother Ixbalanque he over- 
comes the evil adversary — ¥ Vucub- 
Caquix. Like his father, Hunapu too lost 
his head - this time in the 'house of the 
bats' . After their victory over the forces of 
death and the underworld (Xibalba), the 
twins are promoted to the heavens as the 
sun and the moon; and they then proceed 
to create the first human beings. 

Hunhau (also known as Ahpuch) The 
Maya god of death; he rules over Mitlan, 
the underworld, and corresponds to the 
Aztec — > Mictlantecutli. Sometimes he is 
depicted as a man with the head of an 
owl, and then again he is associated with 
the dog, the symbol of death and entry 
into the beyond. Specialists in Central 
American studies refer to him as 'god A'. 

Hun-Hunapu Among the Quiche 
Indians, the father of the divine twins — > 
Hunapu and Ixbalanque. In the book of 
Popol Vuh it is related how the god lost 
his head (here, a solar symbol) while 
playing with a ball in the underworld: the 
head was hung up in a calabash tree 
which had previously never borne fruit, 
and as a result the tree became fruitful. 

Huracan High god and creator god of 
the Quiche Indians who live in Central 
America. He is the 'heart of heaven'. He 
created the first land by calling out the 
word 'earth'; and he formed the human 
race from maize-dough. He dwells at one 
and the same time in heaven, on earth and 
in the underworld. 



Huwawa (Mod. Assyrian Humbaba) 
Demonic guardian of the 'land of the cedar 
mountain' (Lebanon), appointed to the role 
by — > Enlil, but destroyed by — > Gilgames. 

Hvar This Iranian word denotes not 
only the sun but also the sun-god, though 
the role the latter plays is inferior to that 
of — > Mithra. One of his epithets is 'he 
who possesses swift horses'. Through his 
worship one can withstand the powers of 
darkness and the demonic — > Daevas. 

Hyakinthos (Latin Hyacinthus) Pre- 
Hellenic god of vegetation whose death 
symbolizes the decay and rebirth of 
nature. In Greek myth he was a favourite 
of — > Apollon. He was killed by an 

Hypnos 85 

unlucky throw of the discus, and from the 
blood of the beautiful youth there grew 
the flower known after him as the 
hyacinth. In Amyklai in Sparta he was 
accounted a hero, whose grave was sup- 
posed to be under the throne of Apollon. 

Hygieia Greek goddess of good 
health, daughter of the god of healing — > 
Asklepios. The creature sacred to her is 
the snake, and she is depicted giving it 
water in a bowl or a drinking vessel. 

Hymen (also as Hymenaios) Greek 
god of weddings, who was solemnly 
invoked as part of every marriage cele- 
bration. He was supposed to be the son of 
-> Dionysius and of — > Aphrodite, though 
sometimes — > Apollon and a muse are 
said to be his parents. He was represented 

as a winged youth carrying a wedding 
torch and a garland. 

Hymir A Nordic giant living at the 
edge of heaven; he possesses a large beer 
vat. His female companion is the mother 
of the god — ¥ Tyr. Tyr and — > Thor visit 
him to borrow the vat. 

Hyperion Old Greek god of light, -> 
Titan and husband of — > Theia; their 
children were the sun-god -> Helios and 
the moon-goddess — > Selene. 

Hypnos Greek god of sleep, the son of 
night (—¥ Nyx), and brother of death 
(—¥ Thanatos). In art, he is usually 
depicted as a winged youth with a poppy- 
stalk and a small horn in his hands. 
The Romans called him Somnus. 


lakchos A youthful demon, perhaps a 
god, in the Eleusinian mysteries. He is in 
fact the personification of the shout of 
'Iakche!' - a triumphant cry in honour of 
the Eleusinian goddesses, uttered by the 
faithful during the ceremonial procession. 
In Greek myth, lakchos is the son of — > 
Demeter or of — > Persephone, and he is 
seen as the reborn — > Zagreus. 

lapetos In Greek myth, a — > Titan 
opposed to the gods; the father of — > Atlas 
and —> Prometheus. 

Iblis (Arabic form of the Greek diabolos) 
The Islamic designation for the devil. As 
he refused to fall down before Adam and 
worship him, he was expelled from heaven. 

Ida ('libation') In Hinduism, the cere- 
monial sacrifice of milk and butter; 
mythologically the daughter of — » Manu, 
and the wife of the planetgod — > Budha. 
She is the goddess of prayer and devotion. 
Ida was originally a man who was turned 
into a woman when he inadvertently 
entered the enclosure where — > Siva was 
sojourning in female form. 

Idun (Old Icelandic idunn; (id) 'she who 
renews, makes young') Germanic god- 
dess, she who holds the life-giving fruit 
and the gift of everlasting youth. When 
the giant Thiassi abducts the goddess, the 
Aesir (— > As) begin to age in the absence 
of the golden apples. The gods send — > 
Loki to retrieve the goddess, and are reju- 
venated when she is safely returned. 

If a A demi-god of the Yoruba people in 
Nigeria; he is connected with the art of 
soothsaying. He set up an oracular shrine 
in the holy city of Ife, and taught mankind 

the art of healing. Ifa is often equated 
with — > Orunmila. 

Igigi Akkadian designation for the 
great gods of heaven in contrast to the 
underworldly Anunnaka (— » Anunna). 

Ihi (Ehi) Young son of the Egyptian 
goddess — » Hathor; he is the lord of the 
sistrum, the musical instrument which 
drives away evil powers. Accordingly, the 
sistrum is his attribute. 


The function of this god, worshipped by 
the Ibo in Nigeria, was to guide men's 
hands or arms correctly - hence his name 
which means 'right upper-arm'. He is rep- 
resented wearing two enormous horns 
(symbolizing his power) with a sword and 
a severed human head in his hands. The 
two horns may be doubled; that is, there 
may be four of them. The images of 

Inanna 87 

Ikenga set up in households are supposed 
to ensure prosperity and good fortune, 
and their advice is often sought by the 

Ilazki (also occurs as Illargui or Iretargui) 
The moon is regarded as female by the 
Basques and this is one of the names 
given to it; it is also known as 'grand- 
mother' or 'holy grandmother'. In some 
places in the Basque regions, they tell 
children that the moon is the face of God. 
The name Illargui means 'light of the 
dead', the nocturnal light that shines for 
the souls of the dead. 

Illapa (Ilyapa, also as Katoylla) The 
god of lightning, thunder and rainstorms 
in the pre-Columbian Inca empire. 

Illujanka Hittite snake demon, which 
was slain by the weather-god. The myth 
was taken up by the Canaanites in the 
form of the mythical struggle of — ¥ Baal 
Sapon against — > Leviathan, and reached 
the Greeks as the story of — > Typhon. 
The tale of the weather-god's battle 
against Illujanka was recited at the feast 
of the New Year (purulli); a new era 
begins with the destruction of the mon- 
strous snake. 

Ilmarinen (ilma = air, weather) In 
Finnish myth, the ruler over wind and 
weather; he is also the protective deity of 
travellers. He is also the divine smith who 
studs the sky with stars, and who has cre- 
ated not only the vault of heaven but also 
the Sampo (probably the axis mundi). It is 
he, as a culture-hero, who first educates 
mankind in the use of iron. 

Imdugud Half-demonic, half-divine 
being in old Mesopotamian mythology; it 
appears as an eagle with a lion's head. As 
a sinister power it threatens domestic ani- 
mals; in its other aspect it figures as an 
emblem of the god — > Ningirsu. 

Imhotep Celebrated Egyptian archi- 
tect and doctor at the time of King Djoser 
(c. 2600 BC). Later, he was revered as 
god of healing and was said to be the son 

Imiut ('he who is in the mummy-cloth') 
Egyptian god who was venerated in the 
form of a headless skin hung up on a pole. 
In the earliest period, Imiut was set up 
as a protective emblem at the royal 
throne. As a protective deity he is associ- 
ated with the god of the necropolis — > 

Imra The supreme god in Kafiristan in 
the Hindu-Kush. He is the creator who 
breathed life into the other gods. Among 
the Kati, he is said to have created 
mankind by means of a sort of butter- 
making process in a golden goat's udder; 
among the Prasun, he is known as Mara. 

Imset (Amset) One of the four sons 
of — > Horus, who watch over the viscera 
in the canopic jars. Imset, who is repre- 
sented in anthropomorphic form, is 
specifically charged with the care of the 
liver, and the south is his allotted heav- 
enly quarter. 

Inanna (Inini) Sumerian goddess of 
love and war. As Ninanna, she is the 
'Queen of heaven' and as Ninsianna she 
is the goddess of Venus. Her symbol 
is the reed-bundle, and this is also her 
determinant in the cuneiform script. 
She is described as the daughter of the 

88 Inar 

sky-god — > An, or of the moon-god — > 
Nanna. Iconographically, Inanna belongs 
to the class of naked goddesses, though 
often she is shown with bright rays stream- 
ing out from her back. Her Akkadian 
counterpart is — > Istar. 

Inar (Inara) This goddess was wor- 
shipped in Asia Minor; she was supposed 
to be the daughter of the Hattic weather- 
god — > Taru. In the — > Illujanka myth she 
helps the weather-god to overcome the 
snake demon. 


The god of foodstuffs in Shintoism, rep- 
resented as a bearded man carrying two 
bundles of rice. His messenger is the fox, 
and this is why there are always stone or 
wooden foxes sitting in front of Inari 
shrines. In popular belief, the god and the 
fox could merge together to form one 
being. In Japanese myth there was also a 
goddess of rice called Inara, who could 
assume the form of a fox. 

Incubus (Latin = he who lies on top) 
Among the ancient Romans, and even 
today in Italy, the name of an — ¥ Alp. 
Since the Middle Ages, a designation for 
male demons who force sleeping women 
to have sexual intercourse. In the literature 

of witchcraft, incubus is also a designa- 
tion for the devil as paramour. 

Indra (the original meaning is 'strong', 
'mighty') The supreme god in the 
Vedic pantheon. He brings rain, and is the 
heavenly representative of warriors; his 
weapon is the thunderbolt, which may 
have four or a hundred edges (vajra). He 
is red or gold in colour, and he is mounted 
on horseback or sits in a chariot drawn by 
horses. As Vrtrahan, Indra is the great 
dragon-slayer, who frees the streams 
obstructed by — > Vritra. In Hinduism, 
Indra is white in colour, clad in red, and 
he rides on the elephant Airavata which 
was generated by churning the ocean of 
milk. He is ruler of the easterly quarter. 
IndranI or Saci (= power) are named as 
his wives, and he is constantly accompa- 
nied by the — > Maruts. In Jainism, the 
word denotes the highest rank in divine 
hierarchies: that is to say, each class of 
gods has its specific Indra. 

Ing Divine progenitor of the Germanic 
Ingwaeones who lived on the Baltic coast. 
The meaning of the word is not clear: 
'lance', 'yew' or even 'man' have all been 
suggested. According to an Anglo-Saxon 
runic poem, the god Ing seems to be con- 
nected with the eastern Danes, and corre- 
sponds to the Yngoi of the Scandinavian 
tradition. It is possible that the Vandals 
brought the cult of Ing from their home- 
land in Sweden. 

Inguma A Basque spirit, something 
like an — > Alp. He creeps into people's 
houses by night and throttles them. 

Inmar Sky-god of the Finno-Ugric 
Votyak (Udmurt) people. The in part of 
the name means 'sky'. The name is 
applied to other divine beings in their 
mythology, and after the coming of 
Christianity it was transferred to the 
Mother of God (Tnmar-mother'). 

Isara 89 

Inmutef (Iunmutef ) Egyptian god; the 
name means 'pillar of his mother'. 
Accordingly, he was the bearer of the 
heavens (conceived as female) and fig- 
ured in a joint cult with — > Hathor. Later, 
he was associated with the king and his 
sacrificial service. 

I no In Greek myth, the daughter of 
King Kadmos of Phoenicia. Fleeing from 
her husband Athamas, she throws herself 
into the sea, where she is sympathetically 
received by the —> Nereids, and elevated 
to the rank of a sea-goddess, under the 
name of Leukothea. 

Inti (Quechua = sun) The Inca sun- 
god, the object of particular veneration 
along with the creator-god — > 
Huiracocha. Inti was seen by the Inca 
rulers as their progenitor. He was repre- 
sented by a gold disc with a human face. 

Inuus Old Latin god, invoked to pro- 
tect herds; later, equated with —> Faunus. 

lo (1) In Greek mythology, the daughter 
of Inachos, the King of Argos. She was a 
priestess serving the morally strict — > 
Hera, who was outraged to find —> Zeus 
making love to her. There are differing ver- 
sions of what happened next: one tradition 
says that Zeus turned lo into a cow to hide 
her identity; another agrees about the cow 
but asserts that Hera did this to punish her. 
In any case, lo was handed over to the 
hundred-eyed watchman —> Argos for 
safe-keeping. Zeus organized her escape, 
and she wandered restlessly over the earth 
until she reached Egypt where her human 
form was restored to her, and she gave birth 
to — > Epaphos. The Greeks resident in the 
Nile delta equated her with — > Isis, who 
was usually represented with cow's horns. 

lo (2) (or Kiho) The chief god of the 
Maori people in New Zealand. Some of 
the statements made about him suggest 

Christian influence: thus, Kiho is 'the 
eternal one', 'the omniscient', 'the god of 
love' and he who has created all things 
through 'the word'. Only the priests and 
the high nobility knew anything about 
him, and his name might only be whis- 
pered in lonely places. On the Polynesian 
island of Mangaia, the word lo means 
something like 'marrow', 'kernel', and 
can also denote 'god'. 

Ipet (Ipi in the Pyramid texts) 
Egyptian hippopotamus goddess who 
soon merged with a similarly named local 
goddess of Luxor to form a goddess of 
the Great Mother type. As the consort of 
the tutelary god Amun she figures as the 
'Queen of the two lands' - that is, of 
Upper and Lower Egypt. 

Iris (Greek = rainbow) A sister of the — > 
Harpies, a virgin goddess who hastens 
down from Olympus as messenger of the 
gods bearing the commandments of — > 
Zeus and — ¥ Hera. She is usually shown 
as winged and bearing the herald's staff. 

Irmin Old Germanic god, whom we 
can probably equate with the war-god 
Tiwaz (— > Tyr). Originally, the name 
seems to have meant 'divine', 'holy', but 
it came to mean 'strong', or 'mighty'. The 
name of the Irmin-pillar in Saxony prob- 
ably refers to this god. The Irmingot 
('great god') found in the Hildebrandslied 
is perhaps a late echo of this old 
Germanic god, though the poem itself 
shows Christian influence. 

Isara (older form: Esara) Ancient 
Mesopotamian goddess: 'Queen of the 
judgment seat and of the sacrificial dis- 
play', and guarantor of oaths. Her 
emblem is the scorpion. In Ugarit, her 
epithet was Hulmittu = snake, lizard. She 
was deeply venerated by the Hittites as 
'Queen of the mountains'. In Syria, it was 
her sexual potency that was emphasized. 

90 Isdes 

Isdes This god makes his appearance 
in Egypt from the Middle Kingdom 
onwards. He was regarded as 'lord of the 
west' and as a judge of the dead. Later, he 
merged into the figure of — ¥ Thot, or of — ¥ 

Isdustaya and Papaya Proto-Hattic 
goddesses of fate worshipped in ancient 
Asia Minor. They use spindle and mirror 
to determine human destiny. It is a moot 
point whether they belonged to the — ¥ 

Isinu Janus-headed god in ancient 
Mesopotamia; his Akkadian name was 
Usmu or Usumu. He was regarded as 
messenger of — ¥ Enki (or of — ¥ Ea). 


(Ese, in cuneiform Esu) Egyptian god- 
dess. In origin she was perhaps the per- 
sonification of the throne, conceived as a 
(female) deity; and she bears on her head 
the determinant of the seat of authority. 
The myth tells how she sought out her 
dead brother and husband —¥ Osiris from 

whom she received the child — ¥ Horus; 
she buried him and mourned him together 
with her sister — ¥ Nephthys. When, later, 
every dead person came to be identified 
with Osiris, she became protector of the 
dead. As 'she who is rich in spells' 
(Urthekau) she was accepted into the 
world of magic and necromancy. From 
the Middle Kingdom onwards, her solar 
aspect is displayed in her epithet 'eye 
of — ¥ Re'. In addition, she was Queen of 
Sirius, and Greek authors (e.g. Plutarch) 
interpreted her as a moongoddess. In the 
Hellenistic period, Isis became patron of 
sea-farers, and was given a rudder as 
attribute. She was, with very few excep- 
tions, portrayed in human form; the cow's 
horns and the sun disc she bears on her 
head she owes to her coalescence with the 
figure of — ¥ Hathor. 

Iskur Hittite weather-god, comparable 
with the Hurrian — ¥ Tesub. His sacred 
number is 10 and his sacred animal the 
bull; his attributes are a club and shafts of 
lightning. He sits on two mountain-gods 
or rides in a chariot drawn by bulls. Iskur 
manifests himself in thunderstorms and 
rain; he is 'king of heaven' and helps the 
earthly king in time of war. 

Israfil In Islam, the angel who sounds 
the trump of doom at the Last Judgment. 

Istadevata ('desired deities') 

Buddhist protective deities (especially 
in Tibet) which are chosen by the neo- 
phyte himself as he prepares to undergo 
Tantric initiation: as a rule, after being 
blindfolded he throws a flower on to a 

Istanu Hittite sun-god; the Hattic form 
is Estan (= 'sun', 'day'). For the written 
form of his name the Sumerian cuneiform 
determinant for — ¥ Utu was used. In 
iconography, one of his main attributes is 
a winged sun as part of his head-dress; in 

lya 91 

his right hand he bears the lituus, i.e. a 
staff whose lower tip is crooked. As the 
sun-god sees all things, he is judge over 
men and animals. 

Istar (original form: Estar) Babylonian 
(Akkadian) goddess of love and sexuality. 
One myth tells of her descent to the under- 
world, where her sister — > Ereskigal ruled. 
In Istar's absence, all procreation ceases on 
earth. Although she is hailed as 'virgin' she 
has many lovers, notably Tammuz (— > 
Dumuzi). Like — > Inanna, her Sumerian 
counterpart, she has, alongside her erotic 
aspect, both war-like and astral functions. 
She is the goddess of Venus as morning 
star, and on Middle and late Babylonian 
border markers she is represented as an 
eightpointed star. Her brother is — > Samas. 
Her importance was such that her name 
could be used as a general appellation for 
'goddess'; and istarata are 'the goddesses'. 

Isten ( 1 ) (Isden) Egyptian god, attested 
from the Middle Kingdom onwards; he is 
related to — ¥ Thot, in the latter's aspect as 
cynocephalus hamadryas. It is doubtful 
whether there is any connection with — > 

Isten (2) Supreme god of the ancient 
Hungarians, sometimes conceived in 
monotheistic terms. He was seen as the 
creator of all things. Among his attributes 
were the arrow, the tree, the horse and the 
phallus. He sent his eagles to guide his 
people - the Hungarians - into their new 
homeland. His epithets include ur ( = 
lord, master) and elo (= the living one). 
With the coming of Christianity, Isten 
merged into the figure of God the Father. 

Isum Akkadian god, brother of the 
sun-god — > Samas, and herald of the 
gods. It is true that he serves the god of 
plague — > Erra, but he is well-disposed 
towards humanity. It is not certain that the 
name is connected with isatum = fire. 

isvara ('lord', 'ruler') Sanskrit desig- 
nation for the supreme world ruler, espe- 
cially for — > Siva. In certain sects, the 
name is used to denote the supreme divin- 
ity. In Hinduism, Isvara becomes synony- 
mous with a supreme personal god who is 
capable of releasing those who believe in 
him for the cycle of reincarnation. It hap- 
pens also that other major gods are 
increasingly identified with various man- 
ifestations of Isvara. 

Itzamna Son of the Maya god — ¥ 
Hunab Ku. He it was who introduced such 
foods as maize and cocoa to mankind, and 
who instructed them in the art of writing. 
As the bringer of culture to his people, 
Itzamna became the national god of the 
Maya. When identified with the sun-god, 
he is also lord of the east and the west. He 
is also called Yaxkokahmut, 'lord of 

Itzpapalotl ('obsidian butterfly') A 
local fire-goddess of the Aztecs, in the 
form of a butterfly. As an astral being, she 
could also take the shape of a deer. 

Iwaldi In Germanic mythology, a 
dwarf skilled in forging and casting; 
father of the goddess — > Idun. He and his 
sons built Freyr's ship Skidbladnir and 
forged Odin's spear Gungnir. 



Ixchel Moon-goddess of the Maya, 
who was also regarded as the protective 
patron of women in childbirth and of 
weavers. — > Itzamna is often mentioned 
as her spouse. 

Ixtab A Maya goddess, the guardian of 
suicides, who enter her paradise. 

lya Among the Sioux Indians, the 
embodiment of evil, a demonic monster 
which swallows men and animals, or 
harms them in other ways. His foul breath 

92 Izanagi 

spreads sickness, and he manifests himself 
sometimes in the shape of the hurricane. 

Izanagi (Isanagi; Japanese = 'the lord 
who invites you to enter') Forms, 
together with — > Izanami, the primeval 
pair of divinities of Shintoism. As the two 
of them were crossing the bridge of 
heaven, Izanagi hurled a spear into the 
water which thereupon gave birth to an 
island. Izanagi is the embodiment of all 
that is bright and heavenly; his children 

are the sun-goddess — ¥ Amaterasu, and 
the moon-god — > Tsukiyomi. 

Izanami (Isanami; Japanese = 'she who 
invites you to enter') Primeval goddess 
in Shintoism, the embodiment of the 
earthly and the gloomy. She is the Earth 
Mother. When giving birth to her 
youngest son, the god of fire, she died, 
and went then to rule over the under- 
world. Her husband was the sky-god — > 


Jabru An Elamite god, who was 
equated with the old Mesopotamian god 
of the sky — > An. 

Jagannatha ('Lord of the world') In 
some parts of India, especially in Puri, 
this is the usual name for Visnu in his 
manifestation as — > Krisna. It is in his 
honour that the feast of rathayatra is held, 
when the image of the god is wheeled 
along in a chariot and differences of caste 
are ignored. 

Jagaubis Lithuanian fire-god, who 
was gradually ousted in popular belief 
and tradition by Gabija. 


(Jahve) The name of the god of Israel. 
The Third Commandment states, 'Thou 
shalt not take the name of the Lord 
thy God in vain,' and this was taken to 
heart so seriously that while the four 
consonants of the name could be written - 
J H W H - the name itself was pronoun- 
ced with the vowels of Adonai' (= Lord). 
Exactly what the name means is a 
disputed point: 'he who exists', 'the 
breather', 'he who summons to existence' 
are some of the suggestions, all of 
them questionable. Exodus 3: 14 glosses 
the word as T am that I am'. Cf. also the 

spurious form — > Jehovah. In origin, 
Jahwe was very probably a mountain- 
god (Sinai). For the Israelites he was 
jahwe zebaoth, 'the lord of hosts'. In 
I Samuel 17: 45, the word zebaoth refers 
to earthly hosts, but elsewhere the 
hosts may be of angels (I Kings 22: 19) or 
of stars (Deuteronomy 4: 19). In 
Old Testament times, the Ark of the 
Covenant was the visible token of the 
divine presence. The god himself could 
not be represented in any form. In 
Christian art, the tetragrammaton - the 
four Hebrew letters - symbolizes the 
almighty God. 

Jambhala Buddhist god of riches, in 
origin a — > Yaksa. He has a pot-belly; in 
his right hand he holds a lemon, and in his 
left a mongoose, which is spitting jewels 
(the mongoose pelt as purse). It is said 
that several Buddhist teachers received 
gold or food from Jambhala. 

Jamm Phoenician-Canaanite god of 
water, especially of the sea; one of his 
epithets makes him 'Ruler river'. He pre- 
sumed to claim a ruling position vis-a-vis 
the other gods, but was overcome by — » 
Baal. According to one tradition, his 
consolation prize was the goddess Attart 
(—> Astarte) who became his bride. 

Jahguli ('the poisonous one') Also 
known as Mahavidya; the Buddhist god- 
dess who offers protection against 
snakebite and poison. She may be por- 
trayed as single-headed with four arms, 
bearing a musical instrument (a vina) and 
a white snake, but she also appears 
with three faces and six arms, and yellow 
in colour. 

94 Janus 


(Ianus) Roman god of gateways, of 
entrances and exits. Metaphorically the 
double-headed god also stands for begin- 
ning and end, the threshold point at which 
the old year becomes the new, and accord- 
ingly January is named after him. Among 
his attributes are keys and a janitor's staff. 
His temple was a double door which was 
kept locked in peacetime and opened in 
times of war. Important matters of any 
kind were commended to his care, thus, 
for example, sowing and harvest. In 
Roman mythology, it is Janus mankind 
has to thank for agriculture and law. 

Jarih (Erah) Canaanite moon-god. 

Jarovit (Latinized as Gerovitus) West 
Slavonic god, venerated in Pomerania. 
The jar component in his name means 
'violent', 'fiery'. At the time of the con- 
version of the West Slavs, Jarovit was 
compared by one writer to — » Mars; that 
is to say, he was accredited with the func- 
tions of a war-god. 

Jarri Hittite god of plague and pesti- 
lence, who had to be placated when there 
was an outbreak. He had the epithet 'lord 
of the bow', and he could also figure as a 
god who helped the monarch in battle. 

Jehovah From the thirteenth century 
onwards, this form is used as an appella- 
tion for — ¥ Jahwe. It results from adding 
the vowels of the Hebrew word adonai = 
lord, master, to the consonants of the 
tetragrammaton J H W H. This demon- 
strably spurious form was adopted by the 
Jehovah's Witnesses. 

Jetaita An earth-spirit much feared by 
the Yamana, a tribe living in Tierra del 
Fuego. He is supposed to be present at 
initiation ceremonies in the cult-house, 
where he is represented by a man painted 
red and white. 

Jian Lao (Chinese = the stable one) A 
Buddhist goddess of the earth and of per- 
manence, revered in China. She is repre- 
sented with her hands placed together, or 
with an ear of grain (a symbol of fertility). 

Jinn This appellation for a class of 
demonic beings goes back to pre-Islamic 
times. The jinn were originally nature- 
spirits, who were also believed to cause 
madness. A specific sub-class of jinn 
were the ghouls, female spirits of the 
wilderness who appeared in animal form. 


Juno 95 

In Japan the — > Buddha of great compas- 
sion. The protector of pregnant women, of 
children and of travellers, he is also 
invoked as a god of healing. In art, he is 
shown bald-headed like a monk, with a 
pilgrim's staff in his right hand. 

Joh (Jah) The Egyptian word for the 
moon and for the moon-god. Originally 
much venerated especially in Thebes, he 
was gradually absorbed by — > Thot. 

Jord (Old Icelandic = earth) North 
Germanic goddess. In the Edda, Snorri 
describes her as at once the daughter and 
the wife of — > Odin. Like — ¥ Fjorgyn, she 
is supposed to be the mother of — ¥ Thor. 

Jotun (Joten) Germanic appellation 
for gigantic demonic beings possessed of 
enormous strength. According to the 
Voluspa, they are the 'early-born', those 
who were already present when the world 
came into being. As primeval beings they 
are wise - but they are also hostile to the 
gods. The giants live in Jotunheimr or 
'giant-land'. One of the best-known of 
them is — ¥ Mimir. The dividing line 
between the Jotun and the —¥ Thursen is 
not clear. 

Juesaes (Jusas, Iusas) Egyptian god- 
dess: a theological fiction, a personifica- 
tion of the 'hand of god' with which — > 
Atum masturbated to create the world 
from his own seed. According to another 
tradition, Juescaea was born from the 
skull of the earth-god — ¥ Geb. 

Julunggul The creator god, venerated 
by Australian aboriginals in Arnhem Land 
as the bringer of culture. He is identified 
with the rainbow-snake. In initiation rites 
boys are supposed to swallow him and 
then bring him up again, in symbolic 
token of the transition from child to man. 

Juma (Finno-Ugrian root juma(la) = 
god, the heavenly one) The sky-god of 

the Mari people (Cheremis) who live 
between the middle Volga and the Vjatka. 
His customary epithet is 'the great one'. 
The word juma is, however, also applied 
to the spirits of the earth, the water, the 
wind and the household. 

Jumala The Finnish appellation for 
'god', 'holy one'; originally the name of a 
sky-divinity, transferred subsequently to 
the Christian God the Father. 

Jumis Latvian god of fertility, symbol- 
ized by two fruits joined in growth - ears 
of rye, nuts or flax stalks. In order to feed 
the strength of Jumi back into the ground, 
ripened ears are bent over to the earth and 
held there by stones. 

Junit An Egyptian goddess of local 
significance in Tuphium (the modern El 
Tod), and therefore connected with — ¥ 
Month. It seems likely that in origin she 
was the personification of a sacred pillar. 


(Iuno) The Roman goddess after whom 
the month of June is named. To begin 
with, she symbolized the youthful powers 
of women, forming thereby a counterpart 

96 Juno Caelestis 

to male -> Genius. First and foremost, 
she is the goddess of marriage and pro- 
tector of married women; under the name 
of Pronuba she gives away the bride, and 
as Lucina she is goddess of birth, i.e. she 
helps the newly-born into the world. As 
Juno Regina, she protects the whole 
Roman Empire. Yet another epithet of 
hers was Moneta, signifying 'recollec- 
tion'; this epithet came to mean 'coin' 
because a mint was set up close to the 
temple of Moneta. Juno was originally an 
Etruscan goddess who was especially 
venerated in Vei. In Rome she was hon- 
oured by women in the feast of the 
Matronalia, held on 1 March. The Latin 
poets made her out to be both sister and 
spouse of — > Jupiter, and she came to 
acquire the significance of the Greek — > 
Hera, whose peacock she also took over 
as attribute. 

Jiino Caelestis (Iuno Caelestis) 
Tutelary goddess of Roman Carthage, 
who took over the functions of the Punic 
— > Tinnit. In Libya she was called simply 
Caelestis. The Phoenicians called her 
Astroarche and regarded her as the moon- 


Latin name (more correctly, Iuppiter) of 
the Indo-Germanic sky-god and god of 
light. The name comes from an original 
diu-pater meaning something like 'father 
of light' (dies = day, from a root deieu = 
shining). The Ides, the days when there 
was a full moon, were sacred to him. His 
shrines were to be found on mountain 
tops. On the Capitol, Jupiter was revered 
as best and greatest of gods: Iuppiter 
Optimus Maximus was the supreme tute- 
lary god of Rome, forming a trinity with 
— > Juno and — > Minerva. As Fulgur he 
loosed lightning, as Tonans he made the 
thunder boom. As the Roman Empire 
expanded, his warlike functions were 
more and more extolled: as Iuppiter Stator 
he helped the legions to hold their ground 
and as Iuppiter Victor he gave them vic- 
tory. The Roman god merged to a large 
extent with provincial gods in far-flung 
parts of the Roman Empire, thus, for 
example with the Syrian — > Dolichenus. 
In myth, — ¥ Zeus and Jupiter are equated. 

Juras mate 'Sea-mother', a goddess 
of water in Latvian folklore. She plays 
some part in spells and charms designed 
to heal or cure. 

Jurojin Japanese god of longevity. He 
rides on a deer, and is often accompanied 
by cranes and tortoises as symbols of long 
life and a happy old age. 

Juturna (Iuturna) Roman goddess of 
springs and wells who was often invoked 
in time of need especially when there was 
a shortage of water. 

Juventas (Iuventas) Roman goddess 
of youth, corresponding to the Greek — > 
Hebe. Sacrifice was made to her when 
boys first donned the toga worn by men. 

Jw (Ja'u, Jawi) The existence of the 
ancient Syrian god has been deduced 
from a study of personal names. Nothing 
certain is known about him; but he may be 

Jyotiska 97 

identical with the harvest-god Ao men- Jyotiska Stellar gods in Jainism. Five 

tioned by the Latin writer Macrobius. There classes are distinguished: suns, moons 

is no evidence to support an equation with (both in the plural), planets, stations of 

-» Jahve, the god of the Israelites. the moon (naksatra) and fixed stars. 


God K Identification tag adopted by 
specialists in pre-Columbian American 
studies to designate a god who sometimes 
appears as a form of — > Kukulcan, and 
who at other times seems similar to — > 
Itzamna. But cf. information given under 
— > Ah Bolom Tzacab. 

Ka The ancient Egyptian designation 
for the generating and sustaining vital 
forces, especially of men: then extended 
to denote the spiritual life-force in gen- 
eral. The Ka-sign, made by raising the 
open hands with palms facing outwards, 
served to protect one, and the hieroglyph 
for Ka had the same effect. Like the 
female — > Hemsut, the Ka are a class 
of protective spirits, who are still active 
and effective even after the death of the 
person associated with them. 

Kabandha ('Barrel') The chief demon 
in the Indian epic, the Ramayana; he 
looks like a barrel because — > Indra 
squashed his head and his lower limbs 
into his body, making him into an enor- 
mous torso with an all-devouring mouth 
in its breast. 

Kabiroi (Greek kabiroi) In origin, ori- 
ental vegetation-deities in Asia Minor, 
whose cult reached Greece via the Aegean, 
especially the islands of Samothrace 
and Lemnos, where it was transformed 
under the influence of Orphic ideas. The 
Kabiroi were now seen as the sons of — » 
Hephaistos; they were invoked as 'great 
gods' and had their own mysteries. They 
were usually conceived of as twins, and 
often equated with the — > Dioskiiroi as 
protectors of sea farers. 



Kades Canaanite goddess of love and 
sexuality. She is shown standing naked on 
a lion, holding a snake in her hands. At 
the time of the New Kingdom, she was 
taken over by the Egyptians. 

Kahil(an) A god often invoked in pre- 
Islamic inscriptions in Arabic. The name 
probably means 'the mighty one'. 

Kaia Demonic figures believed in by 
tribes on the Gazelle Peninsula of New 
Britain (Melanesia). In their underground 
realm (especially below volcanoes) they 
prefer to take on human form, but they 
appear to the natives above as snakes, 
possibly as eels or wild pigs, or in some 
other form. In the beginning, the Kaia 
were the creators of all things, but now 
they are evil and bent on doing harm. 

Kaiamunu (Kaiemunu) A demon in 
the folk belief of the Papuans in the Purari 
Delta of New Guinea. He plays a big part 
in the initiation ceremonies for boys, 
whom he is supposed to swallow and then 
regurgitate to new life. The Kaiamunu is 
represented as a kind of wickerwork 
image, and the long houses belonging to 
the men of the tribe seem to reflect his 

Kaia In Indian thought, the personifi- 
cation of time as a cosmogonic force; first 
mentioned in the Atharvaveda. Kaia was 
his own father, and hence his own son. 
From the fifth century BC onwards, we 
find the god of death — > Yama occasion- 
ally referred to as Kaia. 

Kalevanpojat ('sons of Kalevala') In 
Finnish folk tradition, gigantic demonic 
beings who turn fertile land into heaps of 

Kama 99 

stones and wasteland, and forests into 
marshy meadows. 

Kali ('she who is black') An Indian 
goddess of the Great Mother type. She is 
the menacing and fearful aspect of — ¥ 
Durga. She is usually shown standing on 
her husband — > Siva, or placing her left 
foot on him. She has black hair, her tongue 
hangs out, and she wears a string of 
human skulls round her neck. As Kalaratri 
('black night') she is the mythic embodi- 
ment of a natural force which veils every- 
thing at the time of the creation (or of the 
destruction) of the world. 

Kalki (Kalkin) The tenth and final 
avatara of — > Visnu. When our present age 
(Kaliyuga) draws to a close, and our 
social and spiritual life has reached its 
nadir, Visnu will appear on earth to initi- 
ate the end of the world. He will appear in 
human form with a horse's head, or he 
will ride on a white horse, holding a shin- 
ing sword in his raised hand. 

Kalliope ('she of the beautiful voice') 
One of the —> Muses, specifically the one 
concerned with heroic epic and elegy. 

Kallisto ('she who is most beautiful') 
In origin perhaps an old Arcadian (south 
Greek) bear goddess, later ousted by — > 
Artemis. The myth tells how she was 
loved by — > Zeus, turned into a bear and, 
finally, raised to the constellations (the 
Great Bear). 

Kaltes A goddess venerated by the 
Ugric peoples in west Siberia. She is sup- 
posed to be the sister, wife or daughter of 
the sky-god (— » Num). She has various 
functions including supervision of child- 
birth, and determining people's destinies. 
At certain festivals she is represented 
by the birch-tree. Her sacred creatures 
are the goose and the hare, and she may 
manifest herself in their shapes. 

Kalunga The supreme being of the 
Ndonga in Angola. Kalunga, it is believed, 
gave himself this name; and he looks like 
a man, though it is true that he never 
allows himself to be seen as a whole. 
He is characterized by wisdom and com- 
passion, he sees and hears all, and he is a 
just and righteous judge. His son is — > 

Kalypso A Greek nymph who rescues 
the castaway Odysseus and keeps him 
with her for seven years. Her name comes 
from the Greek verb kalypto = to cover, 
conceal; and this has prompted the sug- 
gestion that she is really a goddess of 


('desire') Indian god of love; his con- 
sort is Rati (= voluptuousness). To begin 
with, he was the demonic spirit which 
animated — ¥ Prajapati. When — > Brahma 
began to be seen as the creator god, Kama 
was said to have sprung from his heart. 
Kama is represented as an ageless and 
unageing youth, riding on a parrot. Both 

1 00 Kamaksi 

the bow and the arrows he bears as his 
attributes are tipped and strung with flow- 
ers. He is symbolized by a piscine mon- 
ster (Makara), often shown in a red 
banner. His epithet anahga (= bodiless) 
is connected with a myth according to 
which he was burned to ashes by Siva 
who had lost his temper with him. 

Kamaksi ('she who ogles') A benign 
goddess who is particularly venerated in 
south India. She ranks as parasakti, 'the 
highest — > Sakti' and is represented as 
four-armed and seated on a lotus. She is 
also worshipped in the image of the Sri 
Cakra (Diskus). 

Kamenae (Camenae) Italic goddesses 
of springs and wells; at their shrine in 
Rome, the vestal virgins drew water every 
day. Later, as the goddesses of Italic 
poetic creation, they were equated with 
the Greek — > Muses. 

Kami Divinities of Shintoism. The 
word kami means, basically, 'above': the 
gods are those who are above. Apart from 
the gods, spirits are also known as kami; 
indeed, the word can be applied to single 
trees, animals and mountains (e.g. 
Fujiyama) which are feared and revered 
because of their unusual or supernatural 
properties. At a later period, the designation 
arami-kami = visible god was officially 
applied to the Emperor. 

Kamos Chief god of Moab (in present- 
day Jordan), equated in a list of gods with 
the Old Mesopotamian god — ¥ Nergal. 
Kamos had his devotees even among the 
Israelites, and Solomon built 'an high 
place' for him (I Kings 11:7, 33). When 
the Greeks took Kamos over, they 
stressed his warlike functions and equated 
him with — > Ares. 

Kamrusepa Hittite goddess of heal- 
ing, the mother of the sea-god Aruna. In 

the myth of — > Telipinu she proves unable 
to placate the angry god of vegetation. 

Kamui Sky-god of the Ainu people on 
the Japanese island of Hokkaido; he is 
also called Tuntu, i.e. 'support, pillar' of 
the world. 

Kamulla A Kassite god in the sense of 
the Babylonian — > Ea. 



Kappa Japanese water-spirits who 
feed on cucumbers and blood and get up 
to all sorts of mischief but who are very 
knowing and can therefore prove helpful 
to people. 

Karei (or Kari) The supreme being of 
the Semang people in Malaya. The name 
of the good is synonymous with the word 
for 'thunder'. It is believed that when it 
thunders, Karei is angry and is letting 
his voice be heard. To placate the god a 
few drops of blood are offered to him in 



Karta A goddess of fate and destiny 
mentioned in Latvian folksong and 
reminiscent of — > Laima. 

Karuiles siunes ('the earlier gods') In 
origin, old Syrian divinities who were 
subsequently taken over by the Hittites as 
gods of oaths. In groups of seven or nine 
they figure as gods of judgment, and are 
hence connected thereafter with the 

Kasku Proto-Hattic name of the moon- 
god, who was accepted into the Hittite 
pantheon, and who corresponds to the 
Hurrian — > Kusuh. 

Kastor and Polydeukes The names of 
the — > Dioskuroi, who distinguished them- 
selves by many heroic deeds, especially 
as tamers of wild horses; Polydeukes was 

Kematef 101 

also outstanding as a boxer. When the mor- 
tal Kastor fell in battle, the immortal 
Polydeukes persuaded Zeus to let them 
spend ever afterwards one day together 
in the world and one in the underworld. 
There was an ancient shrine to both in 
Sparta, and Kastor had a temple on the 
Forum in Rome. 

Kasyapa ('tortoise') In India, Kasyapa 
belongs to the divine minstrels (—¥ Risis) 
and is venerated as a creative force. With 
his wife — > Aditi he begot the sun-gods 
(— > Adityas), but he is also seen as the 
father of the demonic — ¥ Daityas. 

Kataragama One of the four great 
gods in the island of Ceylon (Sri Lanka). 
He is equated with the Hindu god — > 
Skanda and has developed into a national 
god in modern times. In Old Tamil, 
Kataragama was called Ceyon = 'the god 
with the red-coloured body' 

Katavi A demonic being in the popular 
belief of the Nyamwezi (in Tanzania); he 
is said to be chief of the water-spirits, but 
he also haunts barren lands and deserts. 

Katavul (Kadavul) The Tamil name for 
the supreme personal being who is con- 
stantly present and who is the source of 
all that exists. The name means 'He, who 
is'. Katavul is the final and absolute 
arbiter, who rewards or punishes people 
according to their deeds. 

Ka Tyeleo Supreme god of the Senufo 
in the Ivory Coast in West Africa. On the 
fifth day of creation he created the animals, 
and on the seventh the fruit-bearing trees. 

Kaukas A spirit-like being in 
Lithuanian popular belief: usually taken 
to be a sort of goblin who brings good 
luck, though it is also bound up with the 
notion of a dragon guarding a treasure. In 
both Finnish and Estonian, kauko, kauki 
means 'spirit' and 'devil'. 



K'daai A fire-demon of the Yakuts in 
Siberia. He is supposed to be the origina- 
tor of work in wrought iron. 

Kebechet An Egyptian goddess, a 
personification of the purifying libation 
of water, deeply significant in the cult of 
the dead as a means of revitalization. She 
was supposed to be the daughter of — > 
Anubis, the god of the dead, and was 
depicted in snake form. 

Kebechsenef (Kebehsenuf = 'he who 
refreshes his brothers and sisters') 
Falcon-headed son of — > Horus. He 
watches over the lower part of the body of 
a dead person, and to him is allotted the 
westerly quarter. 

Kekri An ancient Finnish feast of 
fertility connected with the sacrifice of 
a sheep. This was misunderstood by var- 
ious writers - for example, we find 
the mistake in a sixteenth-century list of 
gods - and as a result Kekri came to be 
regarded as a god concerned with the 
rearing of cattle. 

Kekrops In Greek tradition, the 
primeval autochthonous man born from 
the earth, with legs like snakes; also, the 
first king of the Athenians. In a dispute 
between — > Poseidon and — > Athena, he 
acted as arbiter. His three daughters, 
known as the Argaulides ('field-girls') 
had divine status, and were so revered. 

Ke'lets A demon of death in the popular 
belief of the Chukchi people in north-east 
Siberia. He hunts men down, accompanied 
by dogs. 

Kematef In the late Egyptian period, 
the name given to the primeval god — > 
Amun who emerged from — > Nun in the 
shape of a snake. The name means 'he 
who has fulfilled his time'. Kneph was 

1 02 Kemwer 

the name given to this divine primeval 
snake by Greek writers. 

Kemwer (Kemur) The black bull ven- 
erated in the Egyptian city of Athribis. 
It was variously identified with — > 
Chentechtai, also worshipped in Athribis, 
and with — > Osiris. It was also interpreted 
as referring to the left eye (of the moon). 


> Centaurs 
• Narkissos 

Kerberos (Latin form Cerberus) The 
Greek hound of hell, with three heads cov- 
ered with snakes. The son of — > Typhon 
and — > Echidna. It greets new arrivals in 
hell by wagging its tail obsequiously, but 
woe betide those who try to get out. Only 
— > Herakles was able to overcome it. 

Keres Malevolent demons in Greek 
popular belief. The root ker- means 'bane, 
evil, death'. 

Keto -» Phorkys 

Kettu — » Samas 

Keyeme Lord of animals among the 
Taulipang in the north of South America. 
He is a man who can change himself 
into a water-snake by donning a multi- 
coloured skin. 

Khasarpana ('he who glides through the 
air') Also known as Khasarpana- 
Lokesvara, a form of the Bodhisattva — > 
Avalokitesvara, known in India. White in 
colour, he sits on the moon above a dou- 
ble lotus. There is a smile on his face, his 
right hand forms the 'wish granted' ges- 
ture, and in his left hand he holds a lotus. 

Kholomodumo A mythical monster 
which, say the Sotho in south-east Africa, 
lived at the beginning of time and ate 
up the whole of humanity save for one 
old woman. She bore twins who went 
forth as forest hunters along with a mangy 

dog: they tracked down the demonic 
being and killed it - and all the people it 
had swallowed came out of its inside. 

Khyung-gai mGo-can Old Tibetan 
god with the head of the mythical Khyung 
bird (corresponding to the Indian — > 
Garuda). Like the bird, the god too may 
have been connected with the sun. 



Kingu A demon mentioned in the 
Akkadian creation epic Enuma Elis; the 
son of — > Tiamat, who wanted to promote 
him to be chief of the gods. But — > 
Marduk overcame the forces of the under- 
world, and — > Ea created men from the 
blood of Kingu. 

Kinich Kakmo (Kinich Ahau) The 
sungod of the Maya, the fire-bird corre- 
sponding to the solar aspect of the Aztec 
— > Quetzalcoatl. 


A group of spirit-beings belonging to the 
— > Gandharvas in Indian mythology. They 
are supposed to look like birds with human 

K'op'ala 103 

heads. They bear a red lotus and belong to 
the retinue of — > Kubera. In Burma they 
are called Keinnara, and they also figure in 
the art of Thailand and Java. 

Kinyras A god revered in Cyprus 
though he originally hails from Syria (— ¥ 
Kotar). He was supposed to be a master in 
the art of iron-smelting, and also the orig- 
inator of magic and music. His name is 
probably of Canaanite origin, and may be 
derived from kinnor = lyre, harp. 



Kirke (Latin form Circe) The daughter 
of the Greek sun-god — > Helios; a highly 
skilled magician, who turned the compan- 
ions of Odysseus into pigs. 

Kis An Egyptian god venerated in the 
town of Kusae. He is represented as a man 
who is gripping two creatures (giraffes or 
snakes) by their long necks and quelling 
them: hence, probably, his name which 
means 'the tamer'. 


■ Ansar 

Kiskil-lilla A Sumerian night-demon 
(female) dwelling in the Haluppu-tree of 
—> Inanna, which is later felled by — > 
Gilgames. The lil component in the name 
was construed as lilu = night by a process 
of folk etymology. 


Supreme god of the Algonkin Indians 
living in eastern Canada and the north- 
eastern United States. He was the first 
existent being, eternal and omnipresent; 
his name means 'good creator'. Since he 
is invisible and embraces the whole 
world, he is represented as a circle or oval: 
in the middle is a point marking the cos- 
mic centre, and round the periphery are 
four pointers indicating the heavenly 

Klio (Greek kleio = 'she who praises'; in 
Latin Clio) The muse usually associated 
with the study of history; her attribute is a 
parchment scroll. 



Kobold A domestic spirit in Central 
European popular belief; he teases, and 
he enjoys his victim's discomfiture - but 
he may also bring prosperity. The name is 
a compound of an old word for 'house', 
'building' (cf English 'cove') and the 
root old = to rule: so the kobold is 'he 
who rules in the house'. They are also 
imagined as mountain dwarfs, who take 
silver and give the (once worthless) cobalt 
in exchange. There is no clear dividing 
line between them and nature-demons. 

Kolanthes A youthful god venerated 
during the Graeco-Roman period in the 
Egyptian city of Panoplis and called 'son 
of Isis and Osiris'. 

Kondos Finnish god of sowing and 
young crops; possibly, a personification 
of wheat. With the coming of Christianity 
the figure of Kondos merged with that 
of St Urban, the patron saint of wine 
in southern lands and of wheat in the 
Baltic area. 

K'op'ala A protective god of the hea- 
then mountaineers in eastern Georgia. His 
weapon is a club into which he sometimes 
transforms himself. 

104 Kore-Arethusa 

Kore-Arethusa A Greek goddess por- 
trayed on coins from Syracuse and 
Carthage; interpreted by the Carthaginians 
as a form of — > Astarte-Tinnit. Her charac- 
teristic symbol is a woman's head adorned 
with ears of corn - a reference to Kore 
(— > Persephone) who took over the life- 
giving aspect of Arethusa, the ancient 
Greek goddess of wells and springs. 

Korrawi The Tamil goddess of battle 
and victory. Her temples were scattered 
about in the forests and were guarded by 
corpse-demons and spirits. As Katukilal 
she is a goddess of the woods, 'the lady of 
the jungle'. Her son is —¥ Murukan. 

Korybantes Demonic companions of 
the ancient Phrygian mother of the gods 
(— > Kybele) in Asia Minor, and then of the 
Greek — > Rheia. They indulge in orgiastic 
dances accompanied by raucous music on 
percussion and wind instruments. 
According to the myth, they are the prog- 
eny of — > Zeus, who impregnated the 
earth by falling on it as rain. 

Kotar (Kautar, later pronounced as 
Kusor) Old Syrian god of the black- 
smith's craft, and lord of magic spells and 
incantations. In the Ugaritic myths he 
appears as master of all arts: he erects 
a palace for the god — > Baal, and forges 
the weapons for the fight against the sea- 
god — > Jamm. Other names for this god 
are Chusor, and, on the island of Cyprus, 
— > Kinyras. 

Kotys (also as Kotytto) A Thracian 
goddess, whose cult spread over Greece 
and Italy. 

Koyote (Coyote) Among the Apache 
and the Navajo tribes in North America, 
the name of the culture-hero who had 
to get rid of the children of the water- 
monster Tieholtsodi, in order that the 
flood should recede and the fifth - i.e. the 

present - world should emerge. The name 
means 'prairie wolf. Koyote taught man 
how to use seeds. Among the Miwok peo- 
ple in California he is creator and 
supreme being; while the Maidu tribe in 
central California sees him as the divine 

Krisna (Sanskrit, dark, the dark one) 
Deified hero of Indian legend, the eighth 
avatara of — > Visnu, son of Vasudeva (of 
the lunar lineage) and of Devaki. The 
Puranas tell how he grew up among 
herdsmen in order to escape the persecu- 
tion of his uncle. He is the charioteer of 
the Prince Arjuna, and the spokesman 
of the Bhagavadgita, in which he desig- 
nates himself as supreme god. In Indian 
art, scenes from the childhood and early 
life of Krisna are very popular - for 
example, his victorious battle against the 
snake-king Kaliya, his flute-playing and 
his amorous dalliance with the cow-girls 
(— > Radha). Krisna died when a hunter 
inadvertently shot an arrow into his only 
vulnerable spot - his right heel. 

Krodhadevatas ('angry deities') 
Terror-inspiring gods in Buddhism. They 
are bluish-black or red in colour, they 
have a third eye and they are adorned with 
skulls and eight snakes. They serve to 
ward off enemies of Buddhist teaching. — > 
Acala and — » Sumbharaja are examples 
of Krodha (= anger) gods. 

Kronos In origin, a pre-Greek fertility 
god who underlies the harvest feast of the 
kronia (cf. the Roman Saturnalia). In 
Greek mythology, Kronos is a Titan, the 
son of the sky-god — > Uranos and the 
earth-goddess — ¥ Gaia. He attacked his 
father, castrated him and took over world 
dominion. To protect himself from a sim- 
ilar fate, he swallowed all his children 
except — ¥ Zeus, in place of whom his wife 
— > Rheia handed him a stone wrapped in 

Kukulcan 105 

napkins. Zeus grew up in hiding and was 
finally able to dethrone his father and hurl 
him into Tartaros. 

Ksitigarbha ('whose origin is the earth') 
One of the eight great — > Bodhisattvas; in 
Central and East Asia he developed into 
a god of the dead and judge in the under- 
world (— > Di-zang). In Japan he is known 
as — > Jizo: he protects travellers and leads 
people to paradise. 

Kubaba (also Kupapa) An ancient 
goddess of Asia Minor, worshipped in 
Upper Mesopotamia under the name of 
Gubaba. The most important centre of her 
cult was Carchemish. Subsequently she 
acquired the traits of a mother goddess. 
A mirror and a pomegranate were among 
her attributes. In many ways she is equiv- 
alent to the Hurrian goddess of love — > 
Sauska. Transition to the Phrygian- 
Lydian — ¥ Kybele if not demonstrable is 
highly probable. 

Kubera (Kuvera) Indian god of riches; 
in Vedic times, the leader of the spirits (— > 
Yaksas) who dwell in the dark abyss. The 
demon-king — ¥ Ravana is his half-brother. 
According to one tradition he achieved 
immortality through severe mortification 
of the flesh. His dwarfish, pot-bellied 

torso has three legs. His earliest attributes 
were a sack and a drinking-bowl; later he 
acquired a cudgel and a purse. He lives in 
the Himalayas and is guardian of the 
northerly quarter of heaven. 

Kucumatz (Kukumatz) Supreme god 
of the Quiche Indians as recorded in their 
sacred scriptures. He corresponds to the 
— > Kukulcan of the Maya, and the — > 
Quetzalcoatl of the Aztec. He was imag- 
ined as androgynous: both father and 
mother, begetter and matrix. He is the 
'heart of heaven' who, together with his 
three hypostases (described as cakulha = 
lightning) 'excogitated' the earth, the 
plants and the animals. 

Kud In Old Korean religion, the embod- 
iment of the dark and evil principle in 
the world, the baneful adversary of — > 

Kujaku Myoo ('Peacock King of 
Wisdom') In Japanese esoteric Buddhism, 
he who protects mankind from evil pow- 
ers; he eradicates the evil passions and 
thoughts which stain men's minds. His 
cult was wide-spread as part of the teach- 
ing of the Shingon sect in Japan. In art, 
he is shown surrounded by the large 
fan-shaped peacock wheel. 

Kuk and Kauket A pair of Egyptian 
primeval gods belonging to the Ogdoad. 
They represent the darkness that reigned 
before the creation of the heavenly bodies. 

Kukulcan Originally a god of the 
Toltecs, taken over by the Maya. Both 
in his name (which means 'feathered 
snake') and in his function he corre- 
sponds to — > Quetzalcoatl of the Aztecs. 
Students in this field refer to him as 
God B. He can figure as god of earth, 
water or fire, and his symbols are corre- 
spondingly the sprouting maize, the fish 
and, for fire, the lizard or a torch. First 

1 06 Kukuth 

and foremost, he is a god of resurrection 
and reincarnation. 

Kukuth (Kukudhi) In Albanian popu- 
lar belief a female demon of sickness who 
brings pestilence to the land. The unhappy 
soul of a miser which roams about 
uneasily and does nothing but ill, is also 
described as 'Kukudhi'. 

Kulshedra (Kucedre) A demonic 
being in Albanian folklore which appears 
either as an enormous hag with pendulous 
breasts, or as a dragon-like monster 
spitting fire. It uses its own urine as a 
weapon. The kulshedra can cause a water 
shortage, and can only be placated by 
means of human sacrifice. The name 
comes from the Latin chersydrus which 
means something like 'the snake that lives 
in the water and on the earth'. The male 
form, known as Kulsheder, acts as a devil. 

Kumarbi This was the name for the 
'father of the gods' among the ancient 
Hurrians in Asia Minor. He had to abdi- 
cate in the face of pressure from younger 
gods. One myth - the Ullikummi poem - 
tells how Kumarbi begets a son (— > 
Ullikummi) by means of a rock, counting 
on his help in the fight to retrieve his 
heavenly kingdom. 

Kunapipi A sort of Magna Mater 
among the Alawa people in Arnhem Land 
in Australia. She slew young men and 
dined off them until an eagle killed her. 
Her secret name can still be heard in the 
whirring of the ceremonial bull-roarer. 
Men enter her womb (a channel in the 
ritual initiation site) to be reborn anew. 

Kun-tu-bzan-po The chief god in the 
Tibetan Bon pantheon; he is the 'all- 
bountiful god' who has created the world 
from a lump of mud and living beings 
from an egg. He corresponds to the Indian 
— > Samantabhadra. 

Kurdalaegon The god of blacksmiths 
among the Ossetian people (in the 
Caucasus). His epithet is 'the heavenly 
one'. He shoes the dead man's horse, thus 
helping him on his journey to the other 
side: the obsequies reflect this. 

Kuretes Cretan demons closely con- 
nected with vegetation, whose antecedents 
go back to pre-Greek times. They were 
often equated with the — > Korybantes. In 
Greek myth they perform noisy and war- 
like dances to protect the infant — > Zeus 
from — > Kronos. 

Kurma (Sanskrit = tortoise) In 
Vedism, the tortoise was associated with 
— > Prajapati as an embodiment of cosmic 
power; in the Ramayana and in the 
Puranas it was identified with — > Visnu. 
Visnu himself came down to earth in the 
form of a tortoise (usually taken to be the 
second avatara), thus providing a funda- 
ment for the churning of the milk ocean. 

Kurukulla One of the most popular 
Buddhist goddesses; she can cast spells on 
men and women to inveigle them into 
serving her. In Tibet she has become a god- 
dess of riches. Her main attributes are a red 
lotus and a bow and arrow - this latter sug- 
gesting the role of a goddess of love. When 
she is shown in the lotus posture, the god 
of love — > Kama, together with his partner, 
may be shown thereunder. 

Kusuh The moon-god of the Hurrians 
in ancient Asia Minor, corresponding to 
the Hattic moon-god — > Kasku. His 
sacred number is 30, corresponding to the 
lunar month of thirty days. In one myth, 
the moon-god is pursued by the weather- 
god, but the goddess of healing — > 
Kamrusepa comes to his aid. 

Kutkinnaku Beneficent spirit revered 
by the Koryak people in eastern Siberia. He 
taught mankind to hunt and catch fish, and 

Kybele 1 07 

gave them the fire-stick and the shaman 
drum. In myth he appears as a raven. 

Kvasir In Nordic mythology, a being 
possessed of divine wisdom, the personi- 
fication of a fermented drink. Kvasir is 
said to have originated from the spittle of 
the Aesir (— > As) and the — > Vanir, when 
they stopped fighting each other. After he 
was murdered, his blood was mixed with 
honey and became the mead of the skalds: 
whoever drinks of it becomes a poet. 

Kwoth In Nuer (a Nilotic language) 
the word for 'god' really means 'spirit'. 
God is then kwoth a nial = spirit of 
heaven: and he is like the wind, creator 
and mover of all things. He can be 
approached through prayer and sacrifice. 
A poetic epithet for him is Tutgar, i.e. an 
ox with widespread horns, in token of his 
strength and majesty. 

Kybele (also Kybebe; Latin Cybele) 
The Phrygian Magna Mater; in origin, 

probably a mountain goddess with dwarfs 
as servants. From Mount Ida she received 
her epithet of Idaea Mater, and in myth 
she also appears as — > Agdistis. Her cult 
spread far and wide across the Aegean, 
and she herself was aligned with the 
mother goddesses of the Greeks, — > 
Demeter and — > Rheia. In the year 
205/204 BC the black stone sacred to her 
was brought from Pessinus in Phrygia to 
Rome. In art, she is shown in a chariot 
drawn by lions and panthers. Her attrib- 
utes are a mirror and a pomegranate, 
often also a key. As protective deity of 
towns, she is also entitled to wear a castel- 
lated crown. She is accompanied by 
a demonic retinue of ecstatically dancing 
— > Korybantes. Kybele was venerated as 
queen of nature and of fertility; her priests 
were the castrated Galloi. Her own cult 
was bound up with that of her lover — > 
Attis. The faithful believed that through 
her mysteries they would achieve rebirth 
to a new life. 


Labbu A monster mentioned in an 
Akkadian (ancient Mesopotamian) myth, 
possibly in the form of a snake, and asso- 
ciated with the Milky Way. The god — > 
Tispak is given the job of slaying it. 



Lactans Roman god of agriculture, 
who caused the crops to 'yield milk', i.e. 
to do well. 

Ladon In Greek mythology, a demonic 
reptilian dragon which guards over the 
tree with the golden apples in the garden 
of the — > Hesperides. 

Lahama In Sumerian mythology, the 
water-demons who belong to — > Enki. In 
the Babylonian pantheon, Lahmu and 
Lahamu were the children of — > Apsu and 
— > Tiamat, and the parents of the primeval 
gods — > Ansar and Kisar. 

Lahar A Sumerian goddess represent- 
ing the mother sheep; she taught mankind 
how to breed and rear cattle. 

Lahurati An Elamite god correspon- 
ding to the Sumerian — > Ninurta. 

Laima Latvian goddess of fate and good 
fortune, who also takes a sympathetic inter- 
est in women in childbirth. She is the cre- 
ator of men, and takes a hand in their birth, 
their marriages and their deaths. No house- 
hold can hope for things to go well unless 
Laima is resident there. In Lithuania, we 
find, apart from Laima, a trinity of Laimos - 
three sisters who correspond to the Fates 
(conceived as women) of other Indo- 
Germanic peoples (— ¥ Moirai, — » Norns). 

Laka The goddess of song and dance 
in Hawaii. Although she occupies a rather 

secondary rank in the Polynesian 
pantheon, she was the object of a very 
special cult among the islanders, devoted 
as they are to the pleasures of the flesh. 


Hindu goddess of good fortune and 
beauty, also known as Sri. In the Vedas, 
she was the consort of — > Varuna or — > 
Stirya, in Hinduism she is the — > Sakti of 
— > Visnu. In all the incarnations of Visnu 
she figures as his female counterpart. 
When he was incarnated as the dwarf 
Vamana, she sat on a lotus flower and was 
therefore called Padma. For Visnu as 
Rama she was the faithful — > Sita; for —> 
Krisna, she was first the cow-girl — > 
Radha, and then his bride Rukminl. 
Laksmi is usually portrayed as a golden- 
hued goddess standing or sitting on a 
lotus flower. The goddess was taken over 

Lares 109 

by Buddhism: in Japan she is known as 
Kichijo-ten, in China as Gong De Tian. 

Lalita Tripurasundari A Tantric god- 
dess, the symbol of cosmic energy and 
secret ruler of the world. She is the — > 
Sakti, the female and - in India - dynamic 
force, from whose union with the male- 
static principle of — > Siva, the transitory 
world of deception (maya) is generated. 

Lama (1) (Akkadian Lamassu) In 
Sumerian myth, a benevolent and protec- 
tive demon, conceived as female. In the 
later Assyrian period, the female Lamassu 
and the male — > Sedu were installed at the 
entrances to palaces to act as guardians; in 
this capacity they were realized as winged 
hybrid creatures, half-man, half-bull. 

Lama (2) As a Hittite-Luvian protec- 
tive god, also known under the name of 
Innara. His cult was already known in 
Kanis. One myth tells how Lama seized 
power in heaven but was ousted by — > Ea 
on account of his arrogance. 

Lamaria The goddess of the hearth 
and tutelary goddess of women and cows 
among the Svan people in the western 
Caucasus. Her name shows Christian 
influence (Maria). 

Lamastu Akkadian demon of puer- 
peral fever and diseases of infants; corre- 
sponds to the Sumerian —> Dimme. In art, 
she is portrayed with bare breasts with 
which she is suckling a dog and a pig; in 
her hands she holds a comb and a whorl. 

Lamia ('she who swallows up') This 
vampire-like spirit which abducts little 
children and sucks people's blood figured 
in popular belief in ancient Greece and 
continues to do so in modern Greece. It is 
similar to the Roman — > Lemures. 

Lan Cai-he One of the 'eight immor- 
tals' (-* Ba Xian). He is depicted some- 
times as a boy, sometimes as a girl, and 

one tradition makes him a hermaphrodite. 
He holds a basket of flowers or a flute as 


('old master') The founding father of 
Taoism, who rose to one of the highest 
positions in the Chinese pantheon. His 
mother is supposed to have borne him 
from her armpit under a plumtree; he was 
born with white hair and could already 
speak. According to the legend he rides to 
the west on a water-buffalo, and is reborn 
there as Buddha. In popular Taoism he is 
regarded as the tutelary patron of occult 
science and alchemy. In his deified form 
he bears the name Lao Jun. 

Laran Etruscan war-god, usually por- 
trayed as a naked youth with a cape 
(chlamys), a lance and a helmet. The basic 
meaning of the name may be something 
like 'strong', 'mighty'. 

Lares Roman tutelary gods protecting 
the household and the family. The Lar 
familiaris was venerated at the hearth, 
and his image was set up in a small shrine 
(lararium). In the Empire period, the lares 
were imagined in the dual rather than the 
plural, as pairs of dancing youths, each of 
whom held up a wreath or a horn. The 

110 Larunda 

lares compitales were the tutelary gods of 
cross-roads, while the lares viales 
ensured a safe return for travellers. 

Larunda A Sabine (old Italic) god- 
dess, often imagined as the mother of the 
— > Lares; more probably, she is a form of 
the earth-goddess. Her name is explained 
as a verbal form meaning 'may she cause 
(the earth) to turn green'. 

Lasas God-like female beings in the 
Etruscan pantheon; they are depicted as 
winged or unwinged, they carry wreaths 
and mirrors as attributes, and are often 
richly adorned with jewellery. They are 
often to be found in the retinue of the 
goddess of love — > Turan; this is particu- 
larly true in the case of the lasa known as 
Acaviser (or Achvistr). A few other lasas 
are known by name, e.g. — » Alpan and — > 
Evan. Like the — > genii the lasas are to be 
approached as supernatural, personal 
beings, who are not invested with the 
powers given to the true (higher) gods. 

Laskowice (Leschia, derived from Old 
Slavonic word for 'forest') Satyr-like 
forest spirits in the mythology of the east 
and south Slavonic peoples. They protect 
wild animals, and have a particularly 
close relationship with the wolf. 

Lature Dano For the inhabitants of the 
Indonesian island of Nias, this is the 
divine counterpart of their supreme god 
— > Lowalangi. Lature Dano causes sick- 
ness and death, not to speak of bad 
weather. He is the lord of the underworld, 
black and red in colour, and darkness, the 
snake and the moon are aspects of his 
allotted realm. 

Lauka mate Latvian goddess of fields 
and fertility, known as 'mother of the 
plough-land'. The peasants prayed to her 
and made sacrifice so that the fields 
might bear plentifully. 

Laume A typical — > fairy in 
Lithuanian popular belief. She usually 
appears naked, likes to bathe and is keen 
on spinning and weaving. She helps the 
poor and protects orphans. In the course 
of time she acquired demonic traits, and 
in folk tradition she sometimes merges 
into the form of — > Laima, the goddess of 
fate. The Latvians know Laume under the 
name of Lauma, and they also call her 
'the white lady'. 

Laverna Old Italic goddess, who may 
have been queen of the underworld, as 
libations to her were poured out with the 
left hand as was customary in cults of the 

Leda In Greek myth, the mother of 
— > Kastor and Polydeukes; also of — > 
Helene, after Zeus had mated with her in 
the form of a swan. It is possible that 
Leda developed from an ancient earth and 
mother goddess in Asia Minor; there was 
a Lycian word lada meaning 'woman'. 

Legba A celestial trickster in Dahomey 
(West Africa) to whom mankind owes the 
art of prognostication and the interpreta- 
tion of oracles. His sacred animal is the 
dog, which he uses as a messenger. 

Lei-zi Chinese goddess of thunder and 
originator of silk-worm breeding. She 
was the wife of — > Huang-di. 

Lelwani A Hittite deity of the under- 
world, originally thought of as male and 
designated as 'king'. Subsequently, 
however, under the influence of the 
old Mesopotamian Ereskigal, Lelwani 
became a female deity. She dwelt 'in the 
dark earth'. Those threatened by death 
had surrogate images sacrificed to the 
goddess. Her shrines were connected with 
charnel-houses and mausolea. 

Lemures (Larvae) In Roman belief, 
the evil spirits of the dead who wander 

Lilith 111 

about as nocturnal bogeymen. Their feast, 
the Lemuria, was held on 9 November 
and 13 May: on these occasions the 
householder went out of doors at mid- 
night and threw black beans to them as 
a peace offering, making sure to keep his 
face turned away. 

Leto (Latin Latona) In Greek mythol- 
ogy, the daughter of the — * Titan Kois and 
of Phoibe. Impregnated by — » Zeus, she 
went to the island of Delos where she 
bore the heavenly twins — > Apollon and 
— > Artemis. The name Leto is connected 
by philologists with the Lycian word 
lada = woman, wife; it may possibly 
reflect an earlier deity once worshipped in 
Asia Minor. 

Leviathan (Livjatan) A monster in 
Phoenician mythology, known in Ugarit 
by the name of Lotan(?). In the Old 
Testament, it is the monstrous dragon of 
chaos which is overcome by Jahwe 
(Psalm 74: 14). In Isaiah 27: 1 it is 
referred to as 'the crooked serpent'. In 
general, it is regarded as a denizen of the 
sea, and hence is equated with the croco- 
dile and the whale. In apocalyptic litera- 
ture and in Christianity, Leviathan figures 
as one of the forms in which the devil 
manifests himself. 

Leza Chief god of south-east African 
Bantu tribes in northern Zimbabwe. He is 
conceived as bodyless and sexless. He is 
creator of all things; one myth makes him 
'mother of the animals'. All that Leza 
does is good: above all, he sends rain. 

Lha In the ancient Bon religion of 
Tibet, the designation for 'gods', trans- 
lated in Sanskrit as 'deva\ 

Lhamo The Tibetan word means 
simply 'goddess'; this particular one is 
portrayed with flowing locks, fiercely 
protruding eyes, ten arms and enveloped 

in flames. She is regarded as a protective 
deity (—¥ Dharmapala) who lends her 
aid to those who earnestly and devoutly 
seek it. 

Li In Chinese popular belief the divine 
lord of fire; under the name of Zhu Rong 
he is regent of the southerly quarter of 
heaven. The myth tells how Li helped to 
divide heaven and earth from each other. 
In art, the god is shown riding on a tiger. 

Liber Old Italic god of animal and 
vegetable fertility; after equation with — > 
Dionysos, he figured on his own as noth- 
ing more than a god of wine. On the day 
of his feast (17 March) youths donned the 
toga virilis for the first time, in token of 
their reaching man's estate. 

Libera Old Italic goddess, daugther of 
— > Ceres and sister of the fertility god — > 
Liber. As a chthonic triad the three 
formed a counterpart to the divine trinity 
on the Capitol: — > Jupiter, — > Juno and — > 
Minerva. Libera was equated with the 
Greek — > Persephone. 

Libertas Roman goddess, personifica- 
tion of freedom. She had a temple of her 
own on the Aventine Hill. Her attributes 
were the 'freedom hat', the pilleus (the 
felt cap which slaves put on when they 
were freed), and a sceptre or lance. 

Libitina Roman goddess of interment; 
her temple and sacred grove formed the 
centre of funerary arrangements in Rome. 
In poetic language Libitina is a metaphor 
for death. 

Lilith This female demon in Jewish 
popular belief is already mentioned in the 
Old Testament (Isaiah 34: 14). She has her 
origins in the — > Lilitu of Babylonian 
demonology, but popular etymology has 
taken her name to mean 'she of the night'. 
Lilith (the plural form is lilin) was imag- 
ined as a blood-sucking nocturnal ghost. 

112 Lilitu 

In Talmudic lore she was regarded as a 
devilish being, and as Adam's first wife. 
The owl was sacred to her. From Palestine, 
the cult of Lilith spread to Greece where 
she merged with —> Hekate. 

Lilitu (or Ardat-lili) A Babylonian noc- 
turnal demon, corresponding to the 
Sumerian — > Kiskillilla and continuing to 
lead a ghostly existence in the Jewish — > 

Liluri Ancient Syrian mountain- 
goddess, forming a pair with the weather- 
god Manuzi. Bulls were sacrificed to both. 

Lir (The name is connected with the Irish 
word for 'sea' - ler) Sea-god in the 
Irish tradition, the bravest man of the — > 
Tuatha De Danann. In Irish poetry, 'the 
plain of lir' is a kenning for the waves of 
the sea. In Wales, the god was called Llyr. 

Lisa The name given to the (male) sun 
worshipped by the Fong in Dahomey 
(West Africa); from its union with the 
(female) moon — > Mawu, there arose 
seven divine pairs of twins. One of these 
pairs - 'the iron twins' - gave mankind 
the first tools and weapons. 

Li Tie-guai ('Li with the iron crutch') 
One of the 'eight immortals' (— ¥ Ba 
Xian), a species of genii. He was said to 
have been a pupil of —¥ Lao-zi. He pos- 
sessed magic powers, and his attributes 
were the iron crutch, the bat (a symbol of 
good luck) and the bottle-gourd, which 
supposedly contained an arcanum which 
could resurrect the dead. 

Ljubi A female demon in Albanian 
folk belief. She dwells in a wonderful 
vegetable garden, and can cause the 
waters to dry up unless a virgin is sacri- 
ficed to her. 

Loa Divine beings revered in Voodoo, 
the set of occult beliefs and practices 

found in Haiti. The antecedents of the Loa 
go back to roots in Africa, and they have 
acquired many traits of Catholic saints. 
Cf. -^ Damballa. 

Locana ('eye') A Buddhist goddess, 
assigned as partner (prajna) to — > 
Vairocana or to — > Aksobhya. She is 
white in colour, thus expressing the spirit 
of peace. Her attribute is the wheel. 

Lodur(r) A god mentioned in the 
Germanic creation myth. Together with 
— > Honir and — > Odin, he played a part in 
the creation of man. Etymologically, the 
name has been explained as meaning 'the 
blazing one', and he has been coupled 
with — > Loki ('Lohe'). 

Logos (Greek = word, reason) The 
'world principle' in Stoicism, the most 
powerful philosophical movement in the 
Hellenistic age. As logos spermatikos it is 
the power that informs all things and 
brings all things about. It is the divine 
spirit, indeed God himself, from which 
the other, mythological gods have arisen. 
With Philo of Alexandria, the Logos takes 
on personal and anthropomorphic charac- 
teristics. In the New Testament, the Logos 
is used as a designation of the person of 
Jesus as the son of God. 

Lokapalas ('world-guardians') This 
designation appears, from the time of the 
Upanisads on, with reference to the gods 
who guard the four heavenly quarters; 
they are also known as dikpalas, i.e., 
'guardians of the heavenly quarters'. 
These are, individually: — > Indra in the 
east, — > Varuna in the west, — > Yama in 
the south and — > Kubera in the north. At 
a later date, the following gods were 
added: — > Surya for the south-west, 
— > Soma (north-east), — > Agni (south- 
east) and — > Vayu (north-west). In 
Tantrism, — > Brahman is added for the 
zenith, and — > Visnu for the nadir. 

Lug 113 


The artful dodger in the Germanic pan- 
theon, and the sire of several agencies 
hostile to the gods - the wolf —> Fenrir, — > 
Hel and the — ¥ Midgard-snake. In one of 
his manifestations, as a mare, Loki is 
said to have given birth to the stallion 
Sleipnir. He can, in fact, take on almost 
any shape he wishes. Popular etymology 
has connected his name with the word 
log (German Lohe = fierce flames). 
Wherever Loki appears along with Odin, 
he acts as the factotum of the gods, never 
at a loss for sharp practice. Otherwise, 
however, he is their adversary: he causes 
the death of — > Balder, and brings about 
the destruction of the world (Ragnarok). 
His consort is — ¥ Sigyn. 

Lowalangi (Lowalani) The inhabitants 
of the island of Nias in Indonesia believe 
in Lowalangi as the god of the world 
above, the source of all that is good; his 
elder brother and adversary is — > Lature 
Dano. Lowalangi is lord of life and 
death; he is omnipresent and omnisicient, 

the creator of mankind. His name 
figures in prayers of supplication and in 
solemn oaths. His sacred creatures are 
the cock, the rhino-bird and the eagle. 
He partakes in the sun and in light. Men 
are the property (the pigs) of Lowalangi, 
and just as people take good care of their 
pigs, so does Lowalangi look after his 

Lucifer (Latin = bringer of light) 
A name used in Christianity for the devil. 
It goes back to Isaiah 14: 12, where the 
casting into hell of the King of Babylon is 
likened to the fall of the resplendent 
morning star (Hebrew helal). The name 
was applied by the church fathers to — > 
Satan, on the basis of Luke 10: 18, where 
Satan is said to fall as lightning from 
heaven. Certain Gnostic sects regarded 
Lucifer as a divine power in his own right, 
or as the 'first-born son of God'. 

Lucina Old Italic goddess of birth, 
whose grove was on Cispius. She was 
absorbed by — > Juno, in her capacity as 
goddess of women. 

Lii Dong-bin (also known as Lii Yan) 
One of the 'Eight Immortals' (—¥ Ba 
Xian). Many tales are told of his won- 
drous deeds. He is the tutelary god of 
barbers; his attribute is a sword with 
which he slays demons. 

Lug (Lugus) A Celtic god, after whom 
the ancient capital of Galliens Lugdunum 
(the modern Lyon) was named. His func- 
tions identify him as a god of war and of 
the magic arts, but poets benefit from him 
as well as warriors and magicians. The 
raven is particularly associated with him. 
In the Irish sagas, Lug is also called 
Lamfada = he of the long hand, and some 
students have seen in this a reference to 
the sun's rays, just as his spear has been 
interpreted as indicating lightning. His 
Irish epithet Samildanach ('he who can 

114 Lugalbanda 

do everything') presents him as a master 
craftsman and artist. Lug had a particular 
relationship with the earth-goddess — > 

Lugalbanda Deified king of the 
Sumerian city of Uruk. In the Gilgames 
epic, Lugalbanda and the goddess — > 
Ninsun are mentioned as the parents of — > 

Luna (Latin = moon) Roman goddess 
of the moon, whose chief temple was 
on the Aventine Hill. She was equated 
with the Greek — > Selene, and, like the 
latter, she took on traits of — > Hekate. 
Like — > Sol, the sun-god, she was sup- 
posed to be the protector of charioteers in 
the circus ring. 

Lupercus (Latin = 'wolf-repeller' or 
'wolf-being') Roman god with whom 
the ancient Roman feast of the Lupercalia 
(on 15 February) was associated. Whether 
the equation with — > Faunus, current 
already in antiquity, is justified is a moot 

Lur Basque word meaning 'earth', and 
the name of the earth-goddess; she was 
supposed to be the mother of the sun (— > 
Ekhi) and the moon (— ¥ Ilazki). In Roman 
times, there was a Pyrenean goddess 
called Lurgorr (Basque = red earth). 

Lykurgos The Greek name of a god 
revered in north Arabia: possibly a Syrian 
god in origin, whose function was to pro- 
mote the cultivation of fruit-bearing trees. 


Ma A Cappadocian earth and mother 
goddess in ancient Asia Minor, a personi- 
fication of fertile nature, intermittently 
blending into the figure of — > Kybele. 
She had a war-like function too, and was 
equated by Roman troops with their 
goddess — > Bellona. 

Maahiset ('earth-dwellers') In Finnish 
popular belief, dwarf-like beings dwelling 
under the earth. They are also called 
maanalaiset ('the subterranean ones'), 
and play the part of earth-spirits, widely 
respected and revered as they incorporate 
the beneficent - but also on occasion 
threatening - powers of the earth. 

Maat Ancient Egyptian personifica- 
tion of the world-order, incorporating the 
concepts of justice, truth and legality. She 
was supposed to be the daughter of — > Re, 
the creator of the world. The Pharaoh 
was the 'beloved of Maat, he who lives in 
her through his laws'. A favourite venue 
for judicial hearings was at the shrines of 
the goddess, and the judges were regarded 
as her priests. In art, Maat is shown with 
an ostrich feather on her head. 

Mac Greine (Ceathur mac Greine) An 
Irish god who is invested with the kingly 
function, and who forms a triad with Mac 
Cuill the warrior, and Mac Cecht the 'son 
of the ploughshare'. The name Mac 
Greine means 'son of the sun'; his wife is 
— > Eriu. 

Macha(s) In old Irish religion, a group 
of three goddesses who discharge various 
functions in the fields of motherliness, 
agriculture and war. 

Mafdet Ancient Egyptian goddess in 
the form of a feline predator (a cheetah?); 

she is in charge of castigation, and is 
often shown together with apparatus for 

Mah In Persian, the word means both 
'moon' and 'moon-god'. He is the source 
of the cow, the most important animal in 
Iranian religion and mythology. On 
Kushan coins we see the moon-god in 
cloak, doublet and trousers, with the tips 
of the sickle moon sticking out of his 

Mahadeo (Sanskrit mahadeva = great 
god) This word, taken over from 
Vedism/Hinduism, is used to designate 
the supreme god by certain primitive 
tribes in central India, e.g. the Gonds and 
the Baiga. 

Mahakala ('the great black one') A 
Buddhist god who reminds us, on the one 
hand, of — > Siva (e.g. in his possession of 
the trident and bowl made from a skull), 
and who on the other hand is a god of 
riches. In the main, he appears as two- 
armed and three-eyed, with a tiger-skin 
and the sacred noose or cord made from 

116 Mahaprabhu 

eight snakes. As a severe and wrathful 
god, his function is to destroy the enemies 
of the Buddhist teaching (the dharma). 

Mahaprabhu (Sanskrit mahaprabhu = 
great master) The chief god of the 
Bondo people who live in Orissa. 

Mahasthamaprata ('he who has attai- 
ned to great power') A —¥ Bodhisattva, 
who has made no headway at all among 
the Indian population, but who has 
become very popular in China where he 
appears, in female form, under the name 
of — > Da-shi-zhi. 

Mahatala (or Mahataral) The god of 
the Ngadju Dayak people on the island of 
Kalimantan (Borneo). He has created 
heaven and earth, and is exalted as 
'Prince of the sun and king of the moon'. 
He dwells in the higher world, above 43 
cloud layers, and he appears to people in 
the form of a rhino-bird. The name has 
been taken over by the Christian mission- 
aries as the accepted designation for the 
Christian God. Together with Djata, 
Mahatala forms a single (androgynous) 
deity which is, at one and the same time, 
the world-tree whence children enter the 

Mahavira (Sanskrit = 'the great hero') 
Honorific for Vardhamana: he is the last 
— > Tlrfharhkara of the present world 
cycle. After twelve painful years he 
attained to supreme knowledge and 
became a prophet or harbinger of salva- 
tion. Even the gods pay homage to him. 
His second honorific name is Jina (= 
conqueror) and it is from this word that 
the religion which he founded got its 
name - Jainism. His symbol is the lion. 

Mahes ('glaring lion') A god in the 
form of a lion who was worshipped as 
a sun-god in ancient Egypt, especially 
in the Nile delta. He represents the con- 
suming powers of the scorching heat of 

midsummer, and has the epithet 'Lord of 
slaughter'. In Greek writers he appears 
under the name of Miysis or Mios. 

Mahr (Polish mora, Bulgarian morava) 
A word shared by Slavs and Germans for 
a demonic being similar to the — > Alp. 
One of the earliest references to it is in the 
Old Icelandic historical work, the 
Heimskringla, where we are told of a king 
who was crushed to death by a mara 
while he was asleep. The Czechs and the 
Jugoslavs believe that the mahr is the soul 
of a living person, which leaves the body 
during the night in the form of a moth and 
sucks the blood of other people; resem- 
bling in this the — > vampire. Mahre may 
also appear as hair or wisps of straw. 

Mahrem The chief god of the Axumite 
(Old Ethiopic) empire, whose kings 
called themselves 'sons of Mahrem' 
before the coming of Christianity. The 
god had a warlike function and perhaps 
lunar significance as well. 

Mahuike Polynesian god of fire and 
earthquake; sometimes male, sometimes 

Maia (1) (Greek = little mother) 
Originally perhaps an earth-goddess 
known already in pre-Greek times. The 
myth makes her a mountain nymph who 
is one of the — ¥ Pleiades. Her marriage to 
—> Zeus takes place on the Arcadian 
mountain Kyllene, and — > Hermes is born 
of their union. 

Maia (2) Old Roman goddess of 
growth, whose cult is associated with that 
of — > Vulcanus. It is a moot point whether 
the name of the fifth month derives from 
her or from Jupiter Maius. 



Maitreya ('the kind one') The name of 
the future — > Buddha, that is, the fifth, 

Manabozo 1 1 7 

who will once again show us the way to 
Nirvana, and who at present lives as a — > 
Bodhisattva in the tusita heaven. 
Iconographically, he is identified by a 
white blossom (a reference to the bodhi 
tree), and a small stupa in his head-dress. 
A very popular grouping shows him 
together with two other Buddhas - — > 
Dipamkara and — > Gautama. In China, 
the coming Buddha is called — > Mi-lo Fo: 
in Tibet, he is byams-pa, and in Japan mi- 
roku. In Mongolia, the highest dignitary 
with the title of Maidari Hutuktu is 
regarded as an incarnation of Maitreya. 

Majas gars A domestic spirit in 
Latvia. Until well into the nineteenth cen- 
tury the peasants believed that they could 
gain his sympathy by means of prayer and 
small sacrifices, thereby ensuring the 
continuing prosperity of the household. 

Maju A divine spirit of the Basques, 
the husband of — ¥ Mari: when the two 
meet, there is a frightful thunderstorm. 
Maju tends to appear in the form of a 

Makemake The most important god 
on Easter Island in Polynesia. He is a god 
of the sea, and his sacred creature is the 
sea-swallow. Above all, he is regarded as 
the creator of the first humans, and as 
giver of fertility to animals and plants. 
The celebrated stone figures on Easter 
Island form part of his cult. 

Mai An old Dravidian pastoral god. 
His name means 'the dark one' or 'the 
great one'. His body was dark blue, and 
his weapons consisted of mussel, discus, 
club, bow and sword. In the plant world, 
the banyan tree was sacred to him. At a 
later date, Mai (also called Tirumal) was 
equated with — > Krisna. 

Malakbel A sun-god venerated in 
Palmyra in north Arabia, who had some 

of the characteristics of a youthful vegeta- 
tion god. He was symbolized by the eagle. 
Malakbel was often portrayed together 
with the moon-god — > Aglibol, and also 
with the goddess — > Allat. 

Malik (Malka) A pre-Islamic god in 
north Arabia. The name means something 
like 'king' and is found among other 
Semitic peoples as a designation for god. 

Mama (also as Mami) In origin, a 
child's name for its mother: subsequently, 
the name of a Mesopotamian godddess, 
who played a definitive part in the cre- 
ation of man from clay and blood. In 
Akkadian she had the epithet 'midwife'. 

Mamitu (Mammitu, Mammetu) 
Originally an Akkadian (old 
Mesopotamian) goddess of oaths; subse- 
quently, a female judge in the underworld 
and the spouse of — > Nergal. In one vision 
of the underworld she is described as 

Mammon (Aramaic mamon = property, 
means) In the New Testament, riches 
seen as unjust profit (Luke 16: 9; 16: 13): 
'Ye cannot serve God and mammon.' 
Mammon is the personification of riches, 
the idol of gold. In medieval scholasti- 
cism and in the writings of Agrippa of 
Nettesheim he is classified among the 

Manabozo (Manibozo, also known as 
Nena-bu-shu) A kind of redeemer in 
the mythology of the Menomeni Indians 
in North America and related tribes. In 
these myths, which take many forms, he 
also appears as a trickster. His name 
means 'Big Rabbit'. He is said to have 
invented the ball game, and he fought 
against the evil Anamaqkius. Manabozo 
is the grandson - sometimes the son - of 
the Earth Mother, and he came into the 
world under a bowl. 

118 Manannan 

Manannan As a son of the Irish god— > 
Lir, Manannan took over the office of 
a sea-god, charged among other things 
with forecasting good or bad weather. He 
also rules over the land of the blessed (Tir 
Tairngire). The god appears in the Welsh 
pantheon too, under the name of 
Manawyddan, but here his maritime 
aspect has been much eroded, and he fig- 
ures as a thriving husbandman and a 
skilled cobbler. 

Manasa An Indian snake goddess; her 
cult is, in some respects, that of a fertility 
goddess. She is particularly venerated in 
Bengal where she is invoked for protec- 
tion against snakebite. Her Buddhist 
counterpart is — > Jarigull. 

Manat Old Arabian goddess, one of 
the three so-called 'daughters of Allah'. 
Her chief image was set up in the area 
between Mecca and Medina. The name 
means 'fate', and in the areas where 
Hellenistic culture was in contact with 
Arabian, she was accordingly understood 
as — > Tyche or — > Nemesis. 

Manda In India, the divine regent of 
the planet Saturn: he is also known as 
Sani. He is supposed to be old, ugly and 
lame, and he travels in a cart drawn by 
eight dappled horses or rides on a black- 
bird, a vulture or a raven. 

Manda d-Hiia ('the knowledge of life') 
A god of the Mandaeans. As his name 
suggests, he personifies the Mandaean 
teaching - the teaching (manda) of life 
{hiid). He it is who has revealed this 
teaching; and as the teaching is mainly 
concerned with redemption, he also fig- 
ures as the saviour or redeemer. 

Mandah (Mundih) Designation of a 
pre-Islamic category of gods, who were 
primarily concerned with irrigation, but 
who also show the characteristics of 

protective deities. The collective designa- 
tion mandah can be associated with the 
name of an individual god; thus, for 
example, in the case of — > 'Attar. 

Mandulis (Merulis) A Nubian god, an 
offshoot of whose cult was to be found in 
Philae in Egypt. He was still being vener- 
ated as a sky-god and sun-god in Roman 

Manes (Latin di manes = the good gods) 
The Romans believed that the souls of the 
dead reigned in the underworld as di 
manes, 'good gods', and it was in their 
honour that the feast of the parentalia was 
celebrated. In the Empire period, the 
name of the dead person on a grave-stone 
was often preceded by the formula Dis 
manibus (abbreviation DM); that is to say, 
he was dedicated to the manes. 

Mahgala An Indian stellar deity, ruler 
and representative of the planet Mars. 

Mani In north Germanic tradition the 
moon or the moon-god; the son of 
Mundilferi (in whom we may perhaps rec- 
ognize the old moon), and brother of the 
sun (— ¥ Sol). It is Mani who guides the 
moon-vehicle through the heavens. When 
the world is being destroyed (Ragnarok), 
the moon is swallowed by a wolf. 

Manitu (or Manito) A name given by 
the Algonkin Indians of North America to 
an impersonal force which informs all 
things. In certain tribes, e.g. the Lenape, it 
is also the designation for the supreme 
being, the Great Spirit, the chief of all the 
gods, who are his appointed representa- 
tives (manitowuk). 

Manjughosa ('beautiful voice') A 
form of the — ¥ Bodhisattva — > Mafijusrl, 
particularly revered in Nepal and Bengal. 
He has one head and two arms, and is 
golden-yellow or saffron in colour. He 
rides upon a lion or sits on a lion-throne. 

Marduk 119 

Manjusri ('charming prince') One of 
the most popular — > Bodhisattvas, patron 
of wisdom, who bestows knowledge and 
eloquence on his disciples. His main attrib- 
utes are the sword of knowledge and the 
book of prajna paramita. Inconograph- 
ically, he can be portrayed in fourteen dif- 
ferent ways: see for example, Arapacana, 
Manjughosa and Dharmadhatuvagisvara. 
Chinese Buddhists believed the Emperor 
to be an incarnation of Manjusri 
(in Chinese, Wen Shu). In the Tibetan 
Books of the Dead, Manjusri (in Tibetan, 
'Jam-dpal-dbyangs') is saffron-yellow in 
colour, and in his hands he holds the blue 
Utpala blossom. In Japan he is given the 
name of Monju. 

Manu In Indian, Iranian and Germanic 
tradition, the progenitor of the human 
race. In Old Indian thought, he is the son 
of —> Vivasvat, or of — ¥ Surya, and was 
rescued by a fish during the flood. In grat- 
itude he made a sacrifice of milk and 
melted butter: after a year, this offering 
turned into a beautiful woman, who con- 
fided to him that she was his daughter — > 
Ida. Together, they begot the human race. 
Apart from Manu, another thirteen 
Manus will appear as demigods, creators 
and sustainers of the creatures belonging 
to a given period of time. 



Manzasiri The Kalmyks, a west 
Mongolian people, give this name to their 
primeval being from whose body the 
world was formed: the sun and the moon 
from his eyes, water from his blood and 
fire from the warmth of his internal 
organs. The name is very likely a corrup- 
tion of — ¥ Manjusri. 

Mara (Sanskrit = death, destruction) 
In Buddhism, the evil principle, the insid- 
ious adversary of — > Gautama Buddha. 
Overtly, he appears as a king and is so 

described. Subsequently, certain aspects 
of Mara are personified: thus, for exam- 
ple, Skandha-Mara represents spiritual 

Marama Moon-goddess of the Maori 
people in New Zealand. Periodically her 
body wastes away but it is restored to new 
splendour when she bathes it in the water 
of life. 

Marchocias In medieval demonology, 
a prince of the hellish realm, with the 
wings of a griffin and the tail of a snake. 
Before the fall of his master — > Satan, he 
belonged to the hierarchy of the angels. 


(in Sumerian, Amar-utuk = calf of the 
sun-god: Hebrew, Merodach) Originally 
the tutelary deity of the city of Babylon; 
from the rise of King Hammurabi 
onwards, promoted to the office of tutelary 
god of the Babylonian Empire. His pre- 
dominance was underpinned by the didac- 
tic poem Enuma Elis, which relates the tale 

120 Mari 

of Marduk's victory over —> Tiamat. 
Thanks to his equation with — > Asalluhi, 
he became the god of exorcism, of the art 
of healing and of wisdom. In addition, 
Marduk displayed the characteristics of a 
god of judgment and of a bringer of light 
(god of the spring sunshine); he was 
indeed regarded as 'lord of the gods'. His 
wife was — > Sarpanitu, and his son was the 
god of writing and literature — > Nabu. 
Symbolically, Marduk is represented by 
the reptilian dragon (Musussu); other 
attributes of his are the pick-axe (marru) or 
the sickle. His stellar body is the planet 

Mari (1) A mother-goddess of the 
Dravidian peoples in southern India. On 
the one hand, she is the frightful goddess 
of smallpox; on the other hand, she is a 
goddess of rain. She is one of the most 
popular village deities. 

Mari (2) The supreme deity in Basque 
mythology. The name means simply 
'queen'. She appears as a richly bejew- 
elled lady; often she flies through the air, 
exhaling fire, at other times she rides on 
a ram. She can also traverse the heavens 
in a chariot drawn by four horses. Finally, 
she can appear as a white cloud or as 
a rainbow. Her habitation is inside the 
earth; her husband is — > Maju. Since the 
adoption of Christianity by the Basques, 
both Mari and Maju have sunk to the rank 
of spirits. But the belief that you can ward 
off lightning by placing a sickle (the sym- 
bol of Mari) in front of the house is still 

Marici ('beam of light'; in China, Mo li 
ji) A Buddhist goddess with solar 
traits. She is described in the Buddhist 
texts as surrounded by a garland of daz- 
zling rays, and she travels in a vehicle 
drawn by seven boars. She is particularly 
invoked at sunrise. There are various 

iconographic representations of Marici: 
as Asokakanta she has two arms, is 
golden-yellow in colour, she rides on a 
pig and in her left hand she holds a branch 
of the Asoka tree. Most frequent is the 
type known as Sarhksipta-Marici, which 
has three faces (the left one being that of 
a pig) and eight arms. 


(Marspiter, Mamers, Marmar; often 
called Mavors by Latin poets) Roman 
god of war and protector of the fields and 
what grows in them. The third month is 
called after him. The Romans called 
themselves 'sons of Mars', as they 
regarded him as the father of Romulus 
and Remus. The holy shield of Mars 
(ancile) which was supposed to have 
fallen from heaven, was kept in the office 
of the pontifex maximus on the Forum, 
and was regarded as the pledge or guaran- 
tee for the continued existence of the 
Roman Empire. The lance was also a 
symbol of the god, and his sacred crea- 
tures were the woodpecker (— > Picus), the 

Matsya 121 

wolf and the bull. Every five years, the 
state performed a solemn sacrifice (del 
suovetaurilia) in his honour. Because of 
the dance they performed during his rites, 
the priests of Mars were called salii - 'the 
jumpers'. Augustus consecrated a temple 
to Mars Ultor ('the avenger'). From the 
third century BC onwards, Mars was 
equated with the Greek — > Ares. 

Mars, Gallic The Romans gave this 
name to a god who was worshipped in 
Gaul under various names: as Camulos 
(also in Britain), as Segomo (especially in 
southern Gaul) and as Smertrios. The god 
whom the Romans called Hercules can 
also display Martian characteristics and, 
when the club became equated with the 
lightning-hammer, finally passed into the 
figure of — ¥ Taranis. The Gallic Mars is 
not merely a wargod: in many acts of con- 
secration he appears as a god of healing 
and of fertility, thus similar to — ¥ Teutates. 

Marsyas The name of a demon vener- 
ated in Phrygia, regarded as a silenus 
after the Greek invasion. The story goes 
that he found a flute cast aside by —¥ 
Athena, and mastered it to such an extent 
that he challenged — ¥ Apollon to a musi- 
cal competition. Apollon won and, to pun- 
ish Marsyas for his arrogance, had him 
bound to a tree and flayed alive. 



Martu Old Mesopotamian god of the 
steppe or waste places, supposed to be the 
son of the sky-god — ¥ An; — ¥ Beletseri 
figures as his consort. On occasion Martu 
also appears as a storm-god who destroys 

Marunogere Mythical culture-hero of 
the Kiwai-Papua in New Guinea. He 
taught his people how to build their com- 
munal long-houses, and he created 
woman's sexual parts. 

Maruts A group of Indian storm-spirits, 
the sons of Rudra and the cow Prisni. 
They are the constant companions of — ¥ 
Indra. According to the description in the 
Rigveda they wore golden helmets and 
breastplates, and used their battleaxes to 
split the cloud-cliff so that the rain could 
fall to earth. 

Mataras (or, Ambikas = (little) mothers) 
In India, a group of from seven to nine 
goddesses, who are usually shown in the 
company of —> Siva or of — ¥ Ganesa, and 
whose functions are not very clearly 
defined. They are usually taken to play 
the part of — ¥ Saktis. 

Mate This is the Latvian word for 
'mother' and it forms part of the names of 
several deities. There are 'sea-mother' (— ¥ 
Jtiras mate) and 'fire-mother' (Uguns 
mate), 'berry-mother' (Ogu mate) and 
'plague-mother' (Mera mate). There is 
even 'devil's-mother' (Joda mate). 

Mater Matuta Old Italic goddess of 
the dawn and the morning light. 
Gradually she developed into a goddess 
of women and childbirth, and later, in her 
equation with — ¥ Ino, into a patron god- 
dess of seafarers. 

Matres In Roman Gaul, in Britain and 
in the Rhineland, a group of maternal 
deities, usually thought of as a trinity, 
though sometimes there seem to be only 
two of them. They are usually shown 
seated beside each other with baskets of 
fruit in their laps, or perhaps a cornu- 
copia. Often, the woman in the middle has 
a babe-in-arms. It is likely that veneration 
of the matres was limited to members of 
the household. 

Matsya In Indian mythology the 
piscine avatara in which — ¥ Visnu 
rescued — ¥ Manu from the waters of the 

122 Maui 

Maui A sort of roguish demigod in 
Polynesian belief: on the one hand, he 
helped the gods to raise the vault of 
heaven and to order the course of the stars 
therein, on the other hand, he caught the 
sun in his net and stole fire in order to 
give it to man. Many inventions are due to 
Maui, for example the fish-trap and the 
cat's cradle. His epithet is Tikitiki, which 
suggests some connection with the first 
man (—> Tiki). Maui was never the object 
of any religious cult. 

Mawu The sky-god of the Ewe people 
in Togo. He created the spirits (mawuviwo 
= children of god), in order to provide a 
link between himself and human beings. 
He is the giver of all things, and he loves 
the colour white - even the food he par- 
takes of is white. Mawu is often equated 
with the deity known as Sodza (— » So). 
Among the Fong people in Dahomey, 
Mawu is female and identified with the 
moon; yet another version of the myth 
makes the god androgynous. Mawu is the 
sister of the sun (— > Lisa). 

Maya ('miraculous power'; later meaning 
'deception') In Vedic times a designa- 
tion for the power of the gods, a power 
created by — > Visnu as a female primeval 
principle, from which the world is gener- 
ated. In the Upanisads, the world, engen- 
dered as it is by the forces of magic, 
appears as a kind of illusion which will be 
wiped away when the sole and universal 
reality of — > Brahman is understood. 
Maya was finally personified and appears 
in Buddhism as the mother of — > 
Gautama Buddha. 

Mayahuel (Mayauel) Old Mexican 
goddess of pulque (an intoxicating drink). 
She is portrayed sitting on a tortoise in front 
of a blossoming agave plant. According to 
one version of the myth, she was abducted 
by — > Quetzalcoatl from heaven, and when 

the goddess was torn to pieces by the 
demons of darkness he caused the first 
agave plants to arise from her bones. 

Mayin The supreme god of the Tungus 
people along the Yenisei river in Siberia; 
the name means 'giver of life'. He sends 
souls into the bodies of new-born chil- 
dren, and receives into his heaven the 
souls of those who have died after leading 
a good life. 

Ma-zu A goddess worshipped on the 
southeast coast of China. Her epithet is 
tian-hou, 'Queen of heaven' and she is 
particularly helpful to fishermen in dis- 
tress on the seas. In popular belief, the 
figure of Ma-zu merges into that of the 
compassionate — ¥ Guan Yin. 

Mazzikin Evil spirits mentioned in the 
Talmud along with the — ¥ Sedim. Both do 
what they can to make life difficult for 
human beings. 

Mbotumbo The god of the Baule 
negritos in the Ivory Coast. He has the 
head of an ape and is particularly inter- 
ested in the welfare of his own priests, 
though he is also regarded as a protective 
god by the ordinary people. 

Medeia (Latin Medea) In Greek myth, 
the daughter, skilled in magic, of King 
Aietes of Colchis, and the grand-daughter 

Men Shen 123 

of the sun-god —> Helios. When Jason 
arrives with the Argonauts, she helps him 
to steal the Golden Fleece. When Jason 
proves unfaithful to her, after their mar- 
riage, she punishes him by slaying her 
own children. It is likely that Medeia is a 
later version of an ancient Thessalian 
goddess reminiscent of —> Hekate. 

Medeine (Mejdejn, from Lithuanian 
medis = tree) A Lithuanian goddess of 
the woods, known from references to her 
in medieval chronicles. 

Meditrina Ancient Roman goddess of 
the healing art, who was ousted by the 
cult of — > Aesculapius. 

Medr ('earth') Old Ethiopic earth 
spirit, whether male or female is not clear. 



Mefitis A Roman goddess who was 
venerated in connection with sulphur 
springs; the intoxicating sulphur fumes 
were also known as mefitis. 

Megaira — > Erinyes 

Meghamalin — > Parsva 

Mehet-uret ('great flood') An ancient 
Egyptian goddess in the form of a cow, an 
embodiment of the primeval waters from 
which the sun-god arises. In Plutarch, her 
name appears as Methyer and is applied 
to — > Isis. 

Mehit (Mechit) An ancient Egyptian 
lion-goddess worshipped in the neigh- 
bourhood of Thinis. She was supposed 
to be the wife of — > Onuris. 

Melpomene (Greek melpein = to sing) 
One of the nine — > Muses, usually the one 
associated with singing and tragedy. She 
can be identified by her cothurni (the 
high shoes, bound with cords, worn by 
actors) and her mask; often she carries 
a garland of vineleaves as well. 

Melqart (more precisely, milk-quart = 
city king) The chief god of Tyrus in 
Phoenicia, also venerated in the daughter- 
city of Carthage. He is connected with the 
sea and sea-faring and on coins he is 
shown riding on a sea-horse. At a later 
date, he was also seen as a sun-god, which 
may have had something to do with his 
equation with — > Herakles. 

Men A moon-god, particularly vener- 
ated in Phrygia in Asia Minor, and 
believed to rule not only over the heavens 
but over the underworld as well. When 
plants and animals flourished and pros- 
pered, this was ascribed to his heavenly 
influence. His epithet was tyrannos = 
master, a word which the Greeks took 
from the Lydian language. 

Meness Old Latvian moon-god, hus- 
band of the sun-goddess (— > Saule) and 
tutelary god of travellers. He was invoked 
before setting out on a military campaign 
and at the consecration of a standard: that 
is to say, he had a military function as 
well. He also played a part in exorcism 
and incantation. 

Menhit (Menchit) An ancient 
Egyptian goddess in the form of a lion; 
her cult was especially associated with 
Latopolis (Esneh). Her name means 'she 
who slaughters', and this identifies her as 
a goddess of battle. Her husband was — > 
Chnum, her son — > Hike. 

Menrva (Menerva) An Etruscan god- 
dess, corresponding iconographically to 
the Greek — » Athena, her attributes being 
helmet, lance and shield. The myth of 
Athena's birth was also transferred to 
Menrva, who was said to have sprung 
from the head of — > Tin(ia). 

Men Shen Two Chinese gods whose 
function is to look after gateways and 
doors. Armed with halberd, bow and 

124 Menulis 

arrow and magic symbols, they guard the 
entrances of houses and palaces. Paper 
images of them were stuck on to doors 
during the New Year celebrations in order 
to protect the inhabitants from evil 

Menulis The moon-god in the belief of 
the ancient Lithuanians. Mythologically 
the husband of the sun, but living apart 
from her, as he is in love with the morn- 
ing star. The moon was also called 
dangaus karalaitis = heavenly prince. 

Mephistopheles (Mephisto) The 
name of the devil in the literature of necro- 
mancy and magic in the late Middle Ages, 
and in the Faust story. The name seems to 
be derived from Hebrew mephir = 
destroyer and tophel = liar. 

Mercurius (Mercury) The Roman god 
of trade and industry, whose shrine in 
Rome was on the Circus Maximus. 
Originally he was one of the ancient gods 
of riches and profit (dei lucri) and it was 
not until he was equated with the Greek — > 
Hermes that he became the god of trades- 
men and merchants. His name used to be 
derived from mercari = to carry on a busi- 
ness, but it now seems that an Etruscan 
origin is possible. His opposite number in 
the Etruscan pantheon is — ¥ Turms. 

Mercurius, Gallic Celtic names are 
extant for the god the Romans called 
Mercurius: thus, the Picts called him 
Adsmerius, while the Lingones and the 
Mediomatrici knew him as Clavariatis. 
He was especially venerated on mountain- 
tops: hence such names as Mont-Mercure 
in the Vendee, and Merkur near Baden- 
Baden. Like the Roman model, this god 
too has the caduceus as attribute, and 
in his hand he holds a purse. His sacred 
animals are the cock, the tortoise and 
the ram. In the area round the Mosel and 
the Rhine he was depicted along with 

— > Rosmerta. Whether this Gallic god 
shares certain individual traits with — > 
Teutates or is identical with him, is a 
moot point. 

Meresger (Meretseger = she who loves 
silence) Snake-goddess and protective 
deity of the Theban necropolis in ancient 
Egypt. Her epithet was 'queen of the 

Meret (Mert) Ancient Egyptian god- 
dess of song and rejoicing. As 'Queen of 
the treasury' she is often depicted stand- 
ing on the hieroglyph for 'gold'. She 
appears also in double form as Meret of 
Upper and of Lower Egypt. 



Mesenet In ancient Egypt, the person- 
ification of the 'birth-tile' on which the 
mother giving birth crouched. The double 
spiral on the head of the goddess has been 
tentatively identified as a cow's uterus. 

Meslamta'ea A Sumerian god repre- 
senting the war-like aspect of — > Nergal, 
the god of the underworld. 

Metatron A benevolent demon men- 
tioned in the Kabbala, angel of the coun- 
tenance and custodian of strength. He 
receives prayers from human beings and 
plaits them into crowns to be set on the 
head of God. 

Metis The Greek goddess of wisdom, 
daughter of — > Okeanos and of — > Tethys. 
She was the first wife of —> Zeus, who 
swallowed her because he feared she 
might give birth to a son mightier than he. 
Her child — > Athena sprang from the head 
of Zeus. 

Meza mate Among the Latvians, an 
inferior nature deity; the name means 
'mother of the forest'. It is told in folk- 
song how she protects all wild life - but 
she is also called the 'patron of hunters'. 

Mimir 125 

Michael (Hebrew = Who is like God?) 
In the Bible, the prince of the angels who 
fights for Israel (Daniel 10: 13-21; 12: 1), 
and who hurls the apostate angels led by 
—¥ Satan out of heaven (Revelation 12: 
7-9). In Christianity, he is revered like — ¥ 
Gabriel as an archangel. His attributes, as 
God's champion, are the sword and the 
banner, and in pictures of the Last 
Judgment he is shown holding a pair of 
scales (the weighing of the souls). In 
Islam he is called Mikal and is regarded 
as lord of natural forces. 


('Lord of the realm of the dead') Aztec 
god of the underworld (Mictlan) where 
icy cold reigns and where poisonous 
snakes are the only food. The god of death 
is usually depicted with protruding teeth 
as in a skull. 

Midgard-snake In Germanic mythol- 
ogy, an enormous demonic being, the 
progeny of — ¥ Loki. It lies in the world- 
ocean which surrounds the disc-shaped 
earth. Its arch-enemy is — ¥ Thor who tries 

in vain to fish it out of the water. At 
Ragnarok, the destruction of the world, 
Thor and the great snake kill each other. 

Midir An Irish god, lord of the won- 
drous land of Mag Mor, the tutor of the 
god — ¥ Oengus. Struck by a stake cut 
from a hazel-tree, he loses an eye which is 
replaced for him by the god of healing — > 

Mihr (also as Mehr, Meher) Armenian 
sungod, semantically related to the 
Persian — ¥ Mithra. He was taken to be the 
son of — ¥ Aramazd. On earth, he mani- 
fested himself in the form of fire. He is 
accompanied by a black raven and he 
lives in a cave - symbols in sharp contra- 
diction with his solar nature. 

Mikal A Phoenician god revered on 
Cyprus, in function perhaps a god of 
plague and pestilence. 

Milkom The chief god of the 
Ammonites who live in east Jordan. The 
name probably derives from the Semitic 
word for 'king' (milk, melek, cf. also — > 
Malik). Milkom is mentioned several 
times in the Old Testament, and Solomon 
seems to have worshipped him for a time 
(1 Kings 11:33). 

Mi-lo Fo (also called Pu-Sa) The 
Chinese name of the Bodhisattva — > 
Maitreya, who is to make his appearance 
at the end of time. He is represented as a 
plump monk, with a happy laughing face, 
in a crouching posture; in his hands he 
holds a wreath of roses and a purse. 

Mimir In Norse mythology, the gigantic 
demon of a well, whose waters confer ulti- 
mate wisdom on those who drink of them. 
The god — > Odin pawned one of his eyes in 
order to be allowed to drink at the spring. 
A later version of the myth tells us that 
Mimir falls victim to the struggle between 
the Aesir (— ¥ As) and the — ¥ Vanir; but 

126 Min 

Odin has the head of the decapitated 
monster preserved so that he can ask its 
advice from time to time. 


Old Egyptian god of fertility: worshipped 
in prehistoric times in the form of a fetish, 
thereafter in human form with erect phal- 
lus. Among his attributes is a plot with let- 
tuce plants (as an aphrodisiac!). As the 
local deity of Koptos he became tutelary 
god of the desert roads. One of his epithets 
was Kamutef, i.e. 'bull of his mother' in 
token of his auto-generation. His main 
feast was the so-called 'feast of the steps'; 
seated on his 'step' (threshing floor?) the 
god received the first sheaf of the harvest, 
cut by the king himself. The Greeks iden- 
tified Min with — > Pan or with — > Priapos. 

Minaksi (Minaci) Hindu goddess, a 
manifestation of — ¥ Parvatl. She arose 
from the sacrificial fire of a childless 
king, in the shape of a girl with three 
breasts. Her husband is — > Siva. She is 
venerated above all by fisher-folk, and 
she is portrayed riding on a fish. 

Minerva An Italic goddess who may 
have reached the Roman pantheon via the 
Etruscan (— > Menrva). She is the protec- 
tive deity of craftsmen and teachers, 
and her chief feast - the so-called 
Quinquatrus (19-23 March) - was solem- 
nized mainly by artists and craftsmen. As 
Minerva Medica she was the tutelary god- 
dess of doctors and had a shrine on the 
Esquiline. As tutelary goddess of Rome 
she had her main temple on the Aventine. 
She was later equated with the Greek 
goddess — ¥ Athena. 

Minerva, Gallic Caesar mentions this 
goddess of handicrafts (operum) and arts 
(artificiorum). Her Celtic name is 
unknown. Many inscriptions have been 
found dedicated to her, and in these she is 
often given the epithet Belisama (Celtic 
bel = shining, resplendent). As a rule, she 
is portrayed as armed. She also appeared 
as medica, i.e. as a physician, and in this 
capacity her cult was connected with 
medicinal springs. Her counterpart 
among the ancient Irish was — > Brigit. 

Minos In Greek myth, the son of — > 
Zeus and the Phoenician princess Europa. 
Because of his exemplary rule as king 
over Crete he was translated after death to 
the underworld, there to judge the dead 
(cf. — > Aiakos). Minos displays traits of a 
bull revered as a god. 

Minotauros In Greek myth a fabulous 
being with a human body and a bull's 
head. It was kept captive in the labyrinth 
by the Cretan king — > Minos, and finally 
slain by the Athenian hero — > Theseus. 

Mirsa The celestial lord of light and 
fire in the popular belief of the Georgians 
and the Mingrelians in the Caucasus. 
It is possible that the name is a corruption 
of the Persian — > Mithra. People turn 
to him for protection against diseases of 
the eye. 

Moires 127 


Iranian god of light and protector of 
pledges and contracts, similar to the 
Indian — > Mitra. In the course of 
Zarathustra's reforms he was ousted by — > 
Ahura Mazda from his hitherto predomi- 
nant position; but in the fourth century BC 
he made a vigorous come-back as a cult 
figure, though Zoroastrian circles contin- 
ued to ignore him. The Avesta tells us that 
Mithra has 10,000 ears and eyes; he rides in 
a chariot drawn by white horses. He causes 
the rain to fall and the plants to grow. In the 
post-Alexandrine period in Asia Minor 
Mithra took on traits of — > Apollon and 
of — > Helios, thereby tending more and 
more to the sun-god type. Cf. Mithras. 


The Graeco-Latin name of the Iranian — > 
Mithra, whose cult and mysteries were 
spread by troops and seafarers over the 
whole of the Roman Empire in the first 
and second centuries AD. As the god of 
loyalty, truth and the fight against evil, 
Mithras became the favourite god of sol- 
diers. The cult excluded women, and its rit- 
uals were held by night in underground 
rooms (mithraea sing, mithraeum). The 
central act was the slaughter of a bull - 
originally, it was believed by the god him- 
self - an act which engendered the world 
and/or its vegetation. Mithra's original 
identity as a god of light was gradually 

intensified until he appeared as the figure 
of Sol invictus, the 'invincible sun'. In late 
antiquity, the universal appeal of this god 
shows itself in a number of symbioses with 
other gods (Mercurius, Zeus, Serapis). 

Mitra The Vedic god of friendship and 
of contracts. While — » Varuna ruled the 
night and received dark sacrifices, Mitra 
ruled the day and received white sacri- 
fices. He is one of the — > Adityas, and 
figures generally in the late Vedic period 
as a friendly god. In Iran, he is paralleled 
by — » Mithra. 

Mixcoatl ('cloud-snake') A manifesta- 
tion of the Aztec god — > Tezcatlipoca, the 
form he adopted when he made the first 
fire: as boringstick he used the rotating fir- 
mament held in place by its two poles. 
Mixcoatl himself is the god of the pole-star. 

Mnemosyne The Greek goddess of 
memory: the mother - by —¥ Zeus - of the 
nine Muses. 

Mnevis (Egyptian Mnewer) The 
sacred 'bull of Heliopolis', which was, 
like Apis, an agent of fertility. He was 
also described as the 'herald' of the sun- 
god — > Re. 

Mog Ruith An Irish god who rides in 
a chariot of bright bronze, or flies through 
the air like a bird. The ruith component in 
the name may be connected with the word 
roth = wheel, thus indicating a solar trait 
in the god. One tradition makes him out to 
have lost an eye. 

Moires (Moirai; Greek moira = portion, 
share) Originally, man's allotted 'por- 
tions' in life, his share of fate; thereafter, 
the three goddesses of fate, Klotho (the 
spinner) who spins the thread of life, 
Lachesis, who sustains it through all con- 
tingencies, and Atropos ('the inevitable') 
who cuts it through and thereby brings 
death. In Hesiod they are the daughters 

1 28 Mokos 

of — > Zeus and of — ¥ Themis. In ancient 
art they are depicted with spindle, scroll 
or scales. The Romans equated them with 
the Parcae. In popular belief in modern 
Greece they are called mires. 

Mokos East Slav goddess of fertility, 
mentioned in the Nestor Chronicle. She 
figured as the protector of women in 
process of delivery. Her functions were 
later transferred, with the coming of 
Christianity, to the Virgin Mary. 

Moloch This is a Greek transcription 
of the Hebrew Molek - the name of a 
Canaanite god, to whom human sacrifice 
(of children) was originally made. Many 
Israelites consecrated their children to 
Moloch by throwing them into the flames 
(2 Kings 23: 10). Lately, the name 
Moloch has been compared with the 
Punic root MLK = offering, sacrifice; if 
a connection can be established, this 
would suggest that Moloch was not a god 
but rather a particular form of sacrifice. 

Moma The Uitoto Indians in South 
America believe in Moma as their creator 
and primeval father. When he was slain, 
death entered the world. Since then, 
Moma has ruled the underworld which is 
in keeping with the lunar characteristics 
also ascribed to him. 

Momos In Greek religion the personi- 
fication of blame, censure. Hesiod 
describes Momos as one of the sons of 
night (^> Nyx). 

Mon In the religious system of the 
Kafirs in eastern Afghanistan, the first 
divine creation of — > Imra. He was repre- 
sented as a man with a golden quiver, or 
as a zebu grazing in golden mountain 
grass. First and foremost, Mon is the vic- 
torious slayer of demons. Among the 
Prasun he is called Mandu. 

Month (the Egyptian form of the name is 
Montu) Originally a falcon-headed god 
worshipped in Hermonthis. His function 
was warlike: he overthrows the adver- 
saries of the sun-god, and gives the 
Pharaoh victory. In Thebes, he was first 
regarded as tutelary god of the monarch 
until he had to relinquish this office to —> 
Amun. The sacred animal of Month was a 
white bull with a black face which came 
to be known in later days as — > Buchis. 

Mormo A ghost and bogeyman in 
Greek popular belief. 

Morpheus (from Greek morphe = form, 
shape) The Greek god of dreams, the 
son of — > Hypnos. He plays no part what- 
ever in Greek religion. 

Morrigan (Morrigu) Irish goddess of 
war, whose name is interpreted as mean- 
ing 'queen of the ghosts'. She rages about 
as a sort of fury in battle, usually in the 
form of a bird and also switches to the 
role of a goddess of the underworld. 




• Azizos 

Mot (Semitic mawt, mot = death) 
Phoenician god of drought, of infertility 
and death. He is lord of the underworld, the 
'charnel-house of earth'. Mot is adversary 
of — > Baal, whom he slays. The goddess — > 
Anat thereupon travels to the underworld, 
and cuts Mot to pieces with a sword, which 
leads to the resurrection of Baal. It is 
probable that Philon of Byblos had Mot in 
mind when he writes of a god 'Muth' 
whom the Phoenicians call 'death'. 

dMu (also written as rMu) In the Bon 
religion of ancient Tibet, equivalent to — > 
Lha. The dMu are spirits which dwell in 
heaven; the sky-god is named dMu-bdud 
kam-po sa-zan. 

Mugasa (or Mugu) Mythical sky-god 
of the Bambuti (tribe of pygmies in central 

Mut 129 

Africa). At first, it is related, he dwelt with 
the first men, who were his children, in a 
paradise-like land. He lived in a hut and 
did not wish to be seen by men, and when 
they disobeyed this command he took him- 
self away. Since then, man is mortal. Apart 
from occasional invocation of Mugasa, no 
sort of cult attaches to his name. 

Mu Gong In Chinese Taoist literature, 
the god of the immortals, lord of the east 
and embodiment of the Yang principle. 
He is the husband of — > Xi-Wang-mu who 
lives in the west. 

Mula Djadi The creator god of the 
Toba-Batak in Sumatra. He lives in the 
loftiest of the seven heavens, and two 
swallows serve him as messengers. Mula 
Djadi is the creator of all things. 

Mulungu (often as Mungu) The 
supreme god of various East African tribes, 
e.g. the Kamba. His epithet is mumbi, i.e. 
'creator'. Etymologically, the name 
Mulungu is connected with Bantu words 
meaning 'ancestral domain' or 'ancestral 
soul'. It is probable that in origin Mulungu 
figured as ancestral chief or progenitor. 

Mummu The adviser of the old 
Mesopotamian primeval god — > Apsu. 
Both were overcome by — > Ea, who 
stripped Mummu of his radiance, thereby 
appropriating his being for himself. 



Murukan Ancient Dravidian deity, 
whose name means 'the youthful one'. He 
is also known as Ceyon ('the red one'). 
He is the divine hunter and warrior, and 
therefore identified with the Hindu — > 
Skanda. He rides on an elephant or a pea- 
cock. His banner is adorned with a cock, 
and as attribute he carries a spear along 
with a garland of red flowers of the 
Katampu tree. Murukan's own epithet 
was katampan = god of the katampu tree. 

Muses (Musae) The daughters of the 
Greek father of the gods — > Zeus and of — > 
Mnemosyne. They dwell on Olympus and 
regale the gods with their song, led by — > 
Apollon. Later, each Muse was given a 
specific field of art and science: thus, to 
— > Erato was allotted love poetry, — > 
Euterpe playing the flute and lyric poetry, 
— > Kalliope epic poetry and philosophy, — > 
Klio history, — > Melpomene tragedy, — > 
Polyhymnia, song accompanied by musi- 
cal instruments, — ¥ Terpsichore dance, —> 
Thalia comedy and — > Urania astronomy. 
Here and there the Muses were revered as 
nymphs of wells and springs, and the 
Kastalia spring on Mount Parnassus was 
particularly sacred to them. 

Musisi A god of the Ndonga people in 
Angola; the only son of — > Kalunga. 
Musisi acts as an interceder for mankind: 
a proverb says, 'What Musisi asks on 
your behalf, Kalunga will give you.' 

Mut An ancient Egyptian goddess. The 
consonantal writing of her name is Mw. t; 

130 Mutu 

the etymology of this is not clear. It has 
been linked with the word for 'mother', but 
it could also mean 'vulture', in which form 
the goddess was originally revered. Later, 
she is anthropomorphized and retains only 
the vulture's crest. In Thebes, she was 
regarded as the spouse of — > Amun and 
mother of — > Chons. Mut was equated both 
with the sky-goddess — > Hathor and with 
the snake-goddess —> Uto. 

Mutu In Modern Assyrian verse the 
god of the underworld and the personifica- 
tion of death. He can be recognized by his 
head which is that of a reptilian dragon. 

MutunusTutunus A Roman god, rep- 
resented as ithyphallic or as a phallus. 
Women brought their offerings to him in 
the hope that they would thereby be 
blessed with children. 


Nabu (Ancient Babylonian Nabium; in 
the Old Testament Nebo) Babylonian 
god of writing and of wisdom, the son of 
— > Marduk and of — ¥ Sarpanitu. His 
attribute is the writing stylus. As scribe of 
the tablets of destiny, he occupied a high 
rank in the Babylonian pantheon. The city 
of Borsippa was the centre of his cult, as 
of that of his wife — > Tasmetu. 

Naga (snake) In Indian belief, 
demonic beings, some of whom, however, 
achieved immortality. They are in the 
form of snakes and have usually five or 
seven heads. In art, they are often shown 
in human form as far as the navel, snake- 
like below it. The snake Ananta is the 
symbol of eternity; under the name of 
Sesa it bears the world. Another Naga, 
Vasuki, served as a rope at the churning 
of the milk-ocean, and is then used by — ¥ 
Siva as a girdle, which can scare off 
demons. In Indian popular belief, the 
Nagas are venerated as fertility bearers 
(stone plinths decorated with snakes). In 
Buddhism, they play a part in the life- 
story of — > Gautama. 

Nagakumara ('snake-prince') In 
Jainism, a sub-divison of the — ¥ 
Bhavanavasin gods. They can generate 
rain and thunder, and were originally 
deities associated with water. 

Nagual (Aztec naualli, nahualli = mask, 
disguise) In Central America, a personal 
tutelary spirit, which may take the form 
of an animal or, sometimes, of a plant. 
A man and his nagual are bound together 
by a mystical sharing of destiny. The 
Mexicans believed that even the gods had 
their nagual: that of — > Huitzilopochtli 

manifested itself as a humming-bird or an 
eagle, and — » Quetzalcoatl's was the green 

Nahhundi (Nachunte) The sun-god of 
Elam which lies north-east of the point at 
which the Tigris-Euphrates debouches 
into the Persian Gulf. 

Nahi A Thamudic (ancient north 
Arabian) god, whose function was in 
general helpful and protective. 

Naiads (Naiades) — > Nymphs who 
dwell in springs, pools and rivers. 

Nainuema A mythical primeval being 
in the belief of the Uitoto in South 
America. He attached the world (that 
which is) to an empty delusion; then he 
descended on to this dreamed-up earth 
and tramped it flat and firm. Finally he 
spat on it so that the forest should grow. 

Namita (Namite) Certain Papuan 
tribes in New Guinea believe in this 
primeval female deity who impregnated 
herself with her own big toe and bore 
twins, whom she initiated in the arts and 
crafts useful to man. One tribe regards the 
cassowary as her representative bird. Put 
to death at her own behest, her blood 
engenders the first men. 

Nammu A Sumerian goddess: the 
primeval mother who 'has given birth to 
heaven and earth'. She also appears as the 
creator of mankind. 

Namtar The Sumerian name means 
'that which is cut off', and it designates 
the personification of fate in Sumerian 
thought. It is the divine (perhaps 
demonic) messenger of the underworld 

132 Nana 

goddess — > Ereskigal, charged with bring- 
ing death to mortals. 

Nana An Armenian goddess, daughter 
of — > Aramazd, and taken by the Greeks 
as equivalent to Athena. The etymology 
of the name is not certain: one plausible 
line of argument connects it with an Indo- 
Germanic word for 'mother', attested in 
Sanskrit. It has also been suggested that 
Nana is the Armenian form of the 
Phrygian — > Kybele. In the Parthian 
period her cult reached Palmyra and the 
east Iranian Kushan Empire. Another 
divine Nana is also known to us - the 
daughter of the river-god — > Sangarios in 
Asia Minor. 

Nanaja Ancient Mesopotamian god- 
dess of sex, who, like — > Istar, had a war- 
like function into the bargain. At a later 
period she was equated with — > Tasmetu. 
In the Hellenistic period her cult spread to 
Syria and Iran. 

Nandin ('he who pleases') A white 
bull in the retinue of the Hindu god — > 
Siva, whose virility and fecundity it 
incorporates. In the Puranas, Nandin is 
invoked as a divinity. 

Nang Lha A Tibetan house-god, to 
whom beverages are ceremonially 
offered. He is usually depicted in human 
form, but with a pig's head. 

Nanna ( 1 ) Sumerian moon-god, whose 
cult had its main centre at Ur. He was 
regarded as 'lord of destiny' and his epi- 
thet was asimbabbar, i.e. 'whose ascent is 
radiant'. Nanna corresponds to the 
Akkadian — ¥ Sin. 

Nanna (2) The wife of the Germanic 
god — > Balder, the mother of — > Forseti. 
When Balder is slain, she dies of grief. In 
Old Norse, the word is used as a poetic 
designation for a young woman. 

Nanse The local goddess of Lagas in 
Sumeria. As the daughter of the god of 
wisdom — > Enki she is the goddess of 
soothsaying and interpretation of dreams, 
and the divine will is promulgated 
through her as harbinger. 

Nantosuelta A Gallic goddess. She is 
linked with — > Sucellos, which seems to 
suggest a goddess of the dead; while her 
attribute - a cornucopia - points rather 
in the direction of a goddess who provides 
the good things of life. In the country of 
the Mediomatrici she is portrayed with 
a small, round house in her hand, from 
which we may infer a domestic trait in 
her make-up - perhaps she was a kind of 
protective deity. 

Napir The moon-god of Elam, 
Babylon's Iranian neighbour state. 

Narasimha ('man-lion') The fourth 
incarnation of the Indian god — > Visnu: in 
this avatara he liberates the world from 
its tribulations under the demon king 

Narayana ('son of the primeval man') 
In India, this name is associated with the 
concept of a supreme being, understood 
as a manifestation of — > Brahma or of —> 
Visnu. According to one tradition he 
drifted on a banana leaf and sucked his 
toe (a symbol of eternity) until he had 
shaped the universe out of his own cre- 
ative energy. A well-known iconographic 
representation shows Visnu-Narayana 
during the universal night, mounted on 
the snake Ananta; from his navel there 
grows a lotus bearing the god — » 

Nareau The creator-god of the inhabi- 
tants of the Gilbert Islands in Melanesia. 
He formed heaven and earth from a mus- 
sel. Then he caused sand and water to 
mate, and from the union came forth 

Nechmetawaj 1 33 

Nareau the Younger. The latter conquered 
darkness by forming the sun and the 
moon from his father's eyes; from the 
flesh he created rocks and stones, and 
from the backbone the 'tree of the fore- 
fathers', from which came the ancestors 
of the human race. 

Nari Among the Slavs, demonic beings 
who seem to have been in origin the souls 
of dead children. The Bulgarians imagine 
them in the shape of birds. In the Ukraine 
they are reckoned as belonging to the 
domestic goblins. 

Narisah The Manichaean 'god of the 
world of light', the father of the twelve 
'light- virgins' (dominion, wisdom, vic- 
tory, conviction, purity, truth, belief, 
patience, uprightness, kindness, justice 
and light), corresponding to the twelve 
signs of the Zodiac. Narisah may also 
appear as 'virgin of light', and is then 
essentially androgynous. 

Narkissos (Latin Narcissus) Son of 
the Greek river-god Kephissos and the —¥ 
Naiad Leirope. In unrequited love for his 
own image reflected in the water, he 
wasted away until he was transformed 
into the flower which now bears his name. 

Nasr (also Nusur) Ancient Arabian 
god whose name means 'eagle'. Apart 
from this, little is known about him. 

Natha (Sinhala = protector, master) 
One of the four chief gods of Ceylon (Sri 
Lanka), equated with the Bodhisattva — ¥ 
Avalokitesvara: subsequently also identi- 
fied as the future Buddha — ¥ Maitreya. 
The Buddhist goddess —¥ Tara is supposed 
to be his spouse. 

Naunet In the ancient Egyptian cos- 
mogony of Hermopolis, Naunet belongs 
to the — > Ogdoad, and is the female coun- 
terpart of — ¥ Nun, the personification of 
the primeval deep. In old religious texts 

Naunet figures as an underworld comple- 
ment to heaven (— ¥ Nut), thus becoming 
a kind of counter-heaven which the sun 
traverses during the night. 

Ndjambi Sky-god of the Herero peo- 
ple in south-west Africa, the source of all 
good deeds. Whoever dies a natural death 
is borne aloft by him. It is not permissible 
to utter his name except on certain very 
special occasions. 

Nebtuu (Nebetu = 'queen of the fields') 
A local goddess venerated together with 
— > Chnum in Esneh, the ancient Latopolis. 


Upper Egyptian tutelary goddess of the 
monarch, represented as a woman with a 
vulture's skin on her head, or as a vulture. 
Her attributes are the rod of authority and 
the eternity symbol. Her sacred creature, 
the vulture, became symbolical for the 
whole of Upper Egypt, and entered the 
Pharaonic regalia together with the snake 
representing Lower Egypt (—¥ Uto). In 
popular belief in the days of the New 
Kingdom and later Nechbet was revered 
as a goddess of birh. 

Nechmetawaj (Nehmet-awai) An 
ancient Egyptian goddess venerated in 

134 Neferhor 

Hermopolis. Her name means 'she who 
takes the part of the robbed'. She is the 
female counterpart of — > Thot, who is of 
course a protector of justice: their son is 
— > Neferhor. At a later date, the goddess 
merged with — > Hathor. Plutarch men- 
tions her under the name of Dikaiosyne. 

Neferhor (Greek form Nephoros or 
Nopheros) Ancient Egyptian god, 
forming a triad with — » Nechmetawaj and 
— > Thot. The name means 'he who is fair 
of face'. 

Nefertem (Greek form Nephthemis) 
Ancient Egyptian god of sweet savour: 
actually, the deified lotus flower which he 
bears on his head or carries in his hand in 
his anthropomorphic guise. In one 
Pyramid text he is described as the 'lotus- 
bloom on the nose of Re'. In his solar 
aspect, Nefertem himself becomes the 
sun-child on the lotus blossom, and the 
victorious god of light. He is often shown 
with a lion's head: after all, his mother — > 
Sachmet was a lion-goddess. 

Nehalennia A Germanic goddess, 
evidence of whose cult has been found in 
the Low Countries. It is not clear what her 
name means: and it has been variously 
suggested that the references to her iden- 
tify her as a goddess of fertility or as a 
goddess of the dead. Altars dedicated to 
her show her with fruit (or a basket of 
fruit) and a dog; often the bows of a ship 
appear which may show her in another 
light, as a tutelary goddess of seafarers. 

Nehebkau A snake-demon in ancient 
Egyptian belief. He serves the sun-god 
whom he accompanies in his barque; and 
he is a kind of watchman at the entrance to 
the beyond. Finally, he assumes the stature 
of a primeval god, and becomes, as lord of 
(everlasting) time, the hope of the dead. 

Neith ('the terrible one') This is the 
Greek transliteration of the name of the 

local goddess of Sais, the consonants of 
which are N.t. She was essentially a god- 
dess of war: her cult symbol which she 
bears on her head consists of a pair of 
crossed arrows, often with a shield as 
well. Her epithet is 'she who opens up the 
ways', indicating that she marches ahead 
of the monarch and his army. The location 
of her cult - in the delta of the Nile - 
explains her close relationship with the 
crocodile-god — > Suchos, who is 
described as her son. Sometimes Neith 
appears as a primeval goddess, who may 
even have androgynous features. She is a 
goddess of the dead along with — > Isis, — > 
Nephthys and —> Selket. 

Nemesis A Greek goddess who saw to 
it that justice and luck were evenly dis- 
tributed in human life and who meted out 
due punishment for misdeeds and arro- 
gance (hubris). The name is connected 
with the root nemein in the sense of 
'apportionment of what is proper, due'. 
The cult of Nemesis centred round 
Rhamnus in Attica and in Smyrna. In the 
Hellenistic period, Nemesis was regarded 
as the goddess of the agone (sporting 
competitions of all sorts) and under the 
Roman Empire she was honoured in 
amphitheatres and at racecourses. 

Nemetona A Celtic goddess, who was 
often coupled with the Gallic — > Mars. Her 
name is derived from the word nemton = 
shrine, sanctum, and means something like 
'she who is revered in the shrine'. 

Nenun (Nenwen) Ancient Egyptian 
local god of Kus. He was a falcon-god, 
later equated with Haroeris. 

Neper This old Egyptian word means 
'corn, grain', and it is also the name of 
the god personifying grains. He is 
regarded as the son of the 'food-snake' — > 
Renenutet, and offers hope to the dead as 
'he who lives, after he has died'. 

Niamye 135 

Nephthys (Nebthut: her name in hiero- 
glyphic consonantal spelling is Nb.t-hw.t 
= 'mistress of the house') Ancient 
Egyptian goddess, who seems to be asso- 
ciated with — > Seth, but who is function- 
ally on the side of — > Osiris, whose corpse 
she guards together with her sister — > Isis. 
In this way, she becomes a goddess of the 
dead. Nephthys and Isis are of the east 
and they receive the rising sun. 

Nepit The female counterpart of the 
ancient Egyptian corn-god — > Neper. She 
is usually shown in human form, carrying 
a sheaf of corn on her head; but some- 
times she appears in the form of a snake. 

Neptunus (Neptune) Old Italic god of 
flowing water. The people celebrated his 
feast (the Neptunalia) on 23 July, the aim 
being probably to ward off the high sum- 
mer drought. Neptune was equated with 
the Greek sea-god — > Poseidon, and he 
was, in addition, the god of race-courses. 

Nereids The fifty daughters of the 
Greek sea-god Nereus. As — > Nymphs 
dwelling in the sea they form the retinue 
of —¥ Poseidon. Two of them, — > 
Amphitrite and — > Thetis, deserve special 
mention. The Nereids live on in the Greek 
mind today as gentle fairies. 

Nereus The Greek god of water, espe- 
cially of the sea; the son of — > Pontos and 
the earth-goddess — > Gaia, and father of 
the — > Nereids. Like other sea-gods, he 
has the gift of prophecy, and is able to 
change his appearance at will. 

Nergal (Sumerian, Nerigal) An ancient 
Mesopotamian god of the underworld, the 
husband of — > Ereskigal. He was particu- 
larly venerated in the city of Kuthu, whose 
name, significantly, served as a synonym 
for the realm of the dead. Other names 
given to the god were Lugalgirra and — > 
Meslamta'ea. In origin, Nergal was an 
earth-god incorporating the burning heat 

of summer, and who brought fever and 
pestilence to human beings. 

Nerthus The Roman historian Tacitus 
records the existence of this Germanic 
goddess, whom he calls Mater Terra, 
'mother earth'. Archaeological and 
toponymical evidence suggests that her 
cult was mainly centred in Denmark. She 
is described as travelling through the land 
in a wagon drawn by cows and covered by 
a cloth; when she returns to her shrine, the 
wagon and the cloth, and even her image, 
are washed in a sacred lake. In Norway 
and Sweden, Nerthus is transformed into 
the figure of the male — ¥ Njord. It is likely 
that both Nerthus and Njord are later 
versions of an originally androgynous 
fertility deity. 

Nethuns The Etruscan god of water, 
especially of wells and springs, later of 
the sea also. The name corresponds to the 
Latin — ¥ Neptunus. Like Neptune, 
Nethuns is shown as naked and bearded, 
with a wreath of leaves in his hair. 

Neto(n) An ancient Hispanic war-god 
with astral character. The name is proba- 
bly connected with the Celtic word neto = 

Ngai The supreme god of the Masai 
people in East Africa. The name means 
'rain' and indicates that Ngai was origi- 
nally seen as a weather-god. When a male 
Masai dies, Ngai is invoked as follows: 
'Oh god, I pray, give health, give posses- 
sions, give children.' Ngai is also revered 
as supreme god by the Bantu Kikuyu peo- 
ple: he lives in heaven, and lightning is 
visible evidence of his presence. 

Niamye The supreme god of the Baule 
people in the Ivory Coast. He was born 
from the mother of the gods. The first thing 
he did was to create a wife for himself, and 
then he turned his hand to creating men and 
animals. To begin with, they all lived in 

136 Nidhoggr 

heaven but it became overcrowded - so the 
god created the earth. When people mis- 
behave and refuse to live in peace, he hurls 
his thunderbolts on earth. 

Nidhoggr ('Envy-dragon') A corpse- 
eating demon in Nordic mythology. He is a 
demon of the underworld who gnaws 
unceasingly at a root of the world-ash 
Yggdrasil, thus threatening the whole of 


Greek goddess mentioned first in Hesiod. 
She is the personification of victory 
which is given by — > Zeus or by — > 
Athena. She is mostly portrayed as a 
winged messenger of the gods, with lau- 
rel wreath, girdle and palm-leaf. Her 
Roman counterpart is — > Victoria. 

Nikkal A Syrian goddess taken over 
from the Mesopotamian pantheon. She 
had a lunar aspect (— ¥ Ningal) and was 
wife of the moon-god — > Jarih. 

Ninazu Sumerian god of the under- 
world. In contrast with the terrifying — > 

Nergal, Ninazu appears sympathetic. As 
his name suggests ('Master physician') he 
is a god of healing. 

Ningal (Sumerian = 'great queen') 
The wife of the ancient Mesopotamian 
moon-god (— > Nanna or — > Sin), and 
mother of the sun-god. She appears in 
Syria under the name of Nikkal. 

Ningirsu ('lord of Girsu') A Sumerian 
god belonging to the Lagas pantheon, the 
husband of — > Baba. He is probably iden- 
tical with — > Ninurta, and like the latter he 
appears in two distinct functions: he is 
first a god of fertility and vegetation, and 
in this function his epithet is 'lord of the 
ploughland'; second, he has a military 
side and strikes terror into foreign lands. 
His symbolical animal is the lion-headed 
eagle Imdugud. 

Ningiszida (Ningizida, 'lord of the right 
tree') Chthonic god of the Sumerians. 
His symbolical creature is the horned 
snake. According to Akkadian incanta- 
tions, he watches over the demons who 
have been exiled to the underworld; while 
other traditions present him rather as 
a god of healing, akin to his father — > 
Ninazu. Finally, he also figures as custo- 
dian at the entrance into heaven. 

Ningyo A mermaid in Japanese popu- 
lar belief. She has a human torso and a 
fish's tail. She wards off misfortune and 
preserves peace in the land. 

Ninhursanga (Sumerian = 'queen of the 
mountains') A mother-goddess: many 
Mesopotamian rulers - e.g. Hammurabi 
and Nebucadnezzar - called themselves 
'children of Ninhursanga'. 


• Takamimusubi 

Nin'insina The Sumerian local god- 
dess of Isin; in the Babylonian period she 
acted as a goddess of healing. At times, 
identified with — > Inanna. 

Nommo 137 

Ninlil (Sumerian = 'queen breeze') 
Ancient Mesopotamian goddess, wife of 
—¥ Enlil and mother of the moon-god — ¥ 
Nanna. She is a compassionate goddess 
with maternal traits. The Assyrians took 
her to be the wife of the tutelary god of 
the empire — > Assur. 

Ninmah The Sumerian name means 
'most great queen' and refers to an old 
Mesopotamian mother-goddess. She is 
also called Dingirmah ('most great divi- 
nity') or simply Mah. 

Ninsun(a) Ancient Mesopotamian 
goddess, wife of Lugalbanda. In the epic 
of Gilgames (whose mother she is) she 
figures as an interpreter of dreams. Her 
name is Sumerian in origin and means 
'queen of the wild cow'. 

Ninsusinak (also Insusinak; Akkadian 
form Susinak) The national god of 
Elam; the name is actually Sumerian and 
means 'lord of Susa'. 

Ninurta (Sumerian = 'lord of the earth') 
Ancient Mesopotamian god, the son of — ¥ 
Enlil, husband of the goddess of healing 
—¥ Gula. It is Ninurta that is thanked for 
flourishing herds and fertile fields. He 
also displays warlike traits, and he it is 
who hunts down the storm-bird — ¥ Zu and 
retrieves the stolen tablets of destiny. 
Ninurta is probably identical with the — > 
Ningirsu worshipped in Lagas. 

Nirah Old Mesopotamian god who 
incorporates the snake in its apotropaic 
aspect. He is represented as a snake on 
Babylonian border-markers. 



Nirrti (Nirriti = annihilation) Indian 
goddess of destruction, who threatens 
both living and dead. In sacrificial ritual, 
she is allotted the colour of black, and her 
messenger is the dove. Her husband is 

Nirrta (Nirrita) who is lord of the south- 
west precinct. 

Nisaba Sumerian goddess of the art of 
writing and of knowledge, daughter of the 
sky-god — > An. She 'opens men's ears', 
i.e. she gives them understanding. As in 
the case of —¥ Nabu, her emblem is the 
writing-stylus. In origin, Nisaba was a 
corn goddess. 

Nixe (Water-sprite) (Old High German 
nihhus = crocodile; related to Sanskrit 
nijanas 'washing oneself) The male Nix 
(Nicker) was originally a water-monster 
of an animal nature, regarded as mali- 
cious and dangerous. In Sweden, it is 
known as Nack. The female Nixe is a 
water- sprite with a human torso and the 
tail of a fish. There are similar beings in 
the folklore of many nations: cf. the — > 
Rusalka of the Slavs and the — > Ningyo of 
the Japanese. 

Njord A Germanic god, descended 
from the — > Vanir but resident with the 
Aesir (— ¥ As) until the end of the world. 
He rules over wind, sea and fire. He is 
enormously rich, gives the peasants good 
harvests and helps the fishermen to land 
good catches: that is to say, he behaves as 
a god of fertility. In west Norway, Njord 
was especially venerated as a god of 
the sea. His children are — > Freyr and — > 
Freyja. His female counterpart is — > 
Nerthus, whose name is an allomorph 
of his. 

Nommo In the cosmogony of the 
Dogon people in west Africa, a designa- 
tion for primeval beings who existed 
along with the creator god — > Amma. 
They are thought of as life-giving forces 
belonging to the day and the sky, who 
are particularly associated with rain and 
fertility. Certain Nommo brought spe- 
cific knowledge and skills to man, e.g. 

138 Nona 

Nona A Roman goddess of birth, 
so-called because of the nine-month term 
of pregnancy. 

Norns (Old Norse norn = she who whis- 
pers) In Germanic mythology, spae- 
wives who determine a person's fate on 
earth the moment he or she is born; like the 
— ¥ Disir, they also play a part in the actual 
process of birth. To begin with, there seems 
to have been a plurality of Norns, but in the 
end they were reduced to a triad, perhaps 
under the influence of the — ¥ Parcae. In the 
Voluspa they are named as Urd, Verdandi 
and Skuld: that is to say, the past, the pre- 
sent and the future, or what has been, what 
is and what will be. The thread of fate 
which the Norns are spinning is only occa- 
sionally mentioned. In essence, the Norns 
are closely related to the — ¥ Valkyries. 

Nortia Etruscan goddess of fate and 
fortune. Her attribute is often a large nail. 
In her temple at Volsini it was the custom 
to hammer in a nail at New Year; this may 
have been a sort of expiation rite - the 
nailing down of the defunct year - or it 
may have symbolized good wishes for the 
coming one. 

Notos Greek god representing the 
south wind. Like his brothers — ¥ Boreas, 
— ¥ Euros and — ¥ Zephyros, he is a son of 
the morning red (— ¥ Eos). His Roman 
equivalent is Auster. 

Nott (Old Icelandic = night) In Nordic 
mythology, the daughter of a giant: she 
drives her chariot across the sky, and 
the leading stallion (Frost-mane) bedews 
the earth. Her son is Dag (= day). 

Nuadu Irish god (king) who lost his 
hand in the mythical battle of Mag Tured, 
but had it restored to him by — ¥ Dian- 
Cecht. He is the god of regal authority 
and as such the progenitor of the Irish 
royal lines. 

Nii-gua Ancient Chinese creator 
divinity, variously regarded as male or 
female. She formed the first human 
beings out of yellow clay, and she 
invented the flute. Like the mythical cul- 
tural hero — ¥ Fu-xi, Nii-gua is depicted 
with reptilian lower half. 

Num Sky-god and supreme deity of 
the Samojedic people; the word num also 
denotes the visible sky. The god is the cre- 
ator of the sun, moon and earth, but he 
delegates the running of the world thus 
ordered to inferior deities. His epithet 
jilibeambaertje identifies him as the pro- 
tector of herds and flocks. Reindeer are 
sacrificed to him and hung up on trees or 

Num-Torum Sky-god of the Mansi 
(Vogul) people: he lives in a resplendent 
golden house in the seventh heaven, with 
an iron (or silver) pillar in front of the 
door which signifies the axis mundi. The 
bear is closely associated with Num- 
Torum, and bears are regarded as the 
god's children. 

Nun Ancient Egyptian god, the personi- 
fication of the primeval deep, the waters 
from which all that is has arisen. Like the 
ocean, he embraces the earth, but is at the 
same time underneath it. As the primeval 
god who was existent in the time of 
Chaos, he bears the epithet 'father of the 
gods'. On occasion he is represented - like 
the other male gods of the — ¥ Ogdoad - 
with a frog's head. His female counterpart 
is — ¥ Naunet. 

Nusku Old Mesopotamian god of light 
and fire, the son of — ¥ Enlil, and father 
of the fire-god —¥ Gibil. He is the enemy 
of witches and demons. A lamp is shown 
as his symbol on Babylonian border- 

Nyx 139 


Sky-goddess of the ancient Egyptians. In 
the evening, she swallows the sun in the 
west, only to eject it next morning in 
renewed vigour in the east. She is the 'sow 
who eats up her piglets' - that is to say, she 
subsumes all the heavenly bodies in her 
own being. In the Egyptian cult of the 
dead, she is connected with the concept of 
resurrection; and the coffin is regarded as 
the symbol of heaven, indeed of Nut her- 
self, from whom the dead awaken to new 
life. In art, she is shown being raised by 
the god of the air, — > Su, above the earth- 
god — > Geb. 

Nyama (Bantu = animal, game, fish) 
A designation for a class of wild animal 
which is rich in magic power, and which 
incorporates a force which is partly spiri- 
tual and partly physical. The word can be 
used to denote spiritual powers (e.g., the 
capacity of a dead person to avenge him- 
self, to take reprisals); and among 
the Mandingo it is a circumlocution for 
certain deities. 

Nyame The supreme being of the 
Akan (in the south of Ghana). It is Nyame 
who sends the soul into the embryo, and 
who determines individual destiny. 
Temples are erected to him, in which 
priests spend their lives in his service. His 
sacred number is five. His male aspect 
appears in the sun, his female aspect in 

the moon. Being essentially androgynous, 
Nyame can also appear as a goddess. He 
corresponds to — > Niamye of the Baule. 

gNyan Tibetan spirits who live in trees 
and stones, and who can send illnesses 
(especially plague and pestilence) and 
death to man. As they move about in the 
mountains as well, they are considered to 
be close to the gods. 

Nymphs (Greek nymphe = young 
woman) For the Greeks, these were 
female nature deities of a lower order than 
gods; but they were sometimes regarded 
as demons also, especially when accom- 
panied by satyrs and — > Silene as their 
male partners. They dwelt in the moun- 
tains and in caves (oreades), in the sea (— > 
Nereids), in springs and pools (— > 
Naiads) and in trees (— > Dryads). In 
Greek myth they are called 'daughters of 
Zeus', and in popular belief they were 
regarded as conferring fertility. As a rule, 
they appeared in groups, often in the ret- 
inue of — > Dionysos and sometimes led 
by — > Hermes, whose own mother was a 
nymph (—¥ Maia). In the Hellenistic- 
Roman period they were regarded mainly 
as water-spirits, and duly represented 
with water-pot or mussel shell. The build- 
ing concerned with the provision of water 
in a Greek city was called the numphaion 
(Latin nymphaeum). 

Nyrckes Nyrckes figures on an old 
Finnish list of gods as the one who gives 
'squirrels from the forest'. In magic for- 
mulae used by hunters he appears as lord 
of the forest animals, and as the son - but 
sometimes the wife (!)- of the forest god 
— > Tapio. 

Nyx In Greek cosmogony, the personi- 
fication of the night. She was regarded as 
a primeval goddess in whose presence 
Zeus himself was awe-struck and appre- 
hensive. She was derived from Chaos, and 

140 Nzambi 

gave birth to the heavens (aither) and day 
(hemera). Her sons were sleep (—¥ 
Hypnos) and death (— > Thanatos). 

Nzambi The supreme god of the 
Bakongo people in the Congo area of 
Central Africa. He is invisible and has 
created all men and all things; and he 

punishes those who transgress his com- 
mands. He is inaccessible to man, and 
accordingly no cult surrounds him. One 
tradition tells how Nzambi was born as a 
three-headed androgynous being. Among 
the Equatorial African Pangwe (Fang) the 
god figures under the name Nzame; he is 
invoked only when people want rain. 


Oannes This is the Greek form of the 
name of an old Mesopotamian god, per- 
haps a corruption of the Akkadian 
ummdnu = master. The name is men- 
tioned in the historical writings of the late 
Babylonian priest Berossos; it denotes a 
culture-hero, half-man, half-fish, who 
instructed mankind in handicrafts, building 
and applied science. 


(Low German Wodan; south German 
Wuotan) Germanic god, described in 
the Edda as the chief of the Aesir (—> As) 
the husband of — > Frigg. He is god of war, 
patron of heroes and 'father of the dead' 
(Walvater). He is served by the — > 
Valkyries. Sacred to the god are the wolf 
and the raven; and two ravens, Hugin and 
Munin, whisper into his ear what they 
have seen on their flight through the 
world. The name Odin/Wodan is con- 
nected with the German word Wut = rage, 
fury. Wodan is the god of ecstasy, of magic 
(runic magic) and of the art of poetry; and 

to achieve wisdom he sacrificed one of 
his eyes. In saga and in popular belief he 
appears as a one-eyed warrior armed with 
a spear, or as a wanderer in a blue mantle 
with a floppy hat. Finally, he is also the 
leader of the 'wild army' of peregrinating 
souls. One of his epithets is Grimnir ('the 
masked one') - this because of his fond- 
ness for changing his outward shape (e.g. 
into eagle or snake) and for disguises. 
Other specific epithets are Hangagud 
('god of the hanged') and Bolverkr 
('harm-bringer'). In Scandinavia and in 
England, the third day of the week is 
called after him - English Wednesday. In 
the myth, Odin is swallowed by — > Fenrir 
at Ragnarok, the destruction of the world. 
Early medieval bracteates show the god 
threatened by a monster; he is accompa- 
nied by two birds and sometimes by a deer 
as well, as in our illustration. 

Odqan Mongolian fire-spirit. The 
name is borrowed from Turkish and 
means 'fire-king'. The female version 
Yal-un eke is older; it means 'mother of 

Odudua An earth-goddess of the 
Yoruba people in Nigeria. In her aspect as 
a fertility bringer she is also a goddess of 
love. Her sacred colour is black. 

Oengus (Angus) An Irish god. 
Through cunning he acquires the palace 
of his father — > Dagda by asking if he 
may have it for one day and one night: to 
the Celtic mind, this is a way of saying 
'for ever', and the father has been ousted 
for good. The full name of the god is 
Oengus ma ind Oc, which means 'he who 
alone is powerful'. 

142 Ogdoad 

Ogdoad A group of four pairs of gods 
venerated in Hermopolis, whom the 
Egyptians called Smun = the eight. They 
are the personifications of the primeval 
forces of Chaos: — > Nun and his wife — > 
Naunet symbolize the primeval waters, — > 
Kuk and Kauket darkness, Huh and Hauhet 
the eternity of space, and — > Amun and — > 
Amaunet represent invisibility. As cosmic 
gods they are represented in anthropomor- 
phic form; individually they also appear as 
apes who are seen greeting the rising sun (a 
symbol for the creation of the world). They 
are also sometimes conceived as chthonic 
animals, the male gods appearing as frogs, 
the female ones as snakes. 

Og ma Chief god of the Irish pantheon. 
In the battle against the demonic — > 
Fomore, he is able to take their king's 
sword away from him. One of his epithets 
is 'he whose visage is like the sun'. One 
of his most signal achievements was to 
invent the Og(h)am script which is used 
in the oldest texts in the Irish language. 

Ogmios A Gallic god, corresponding, 
as his name suggests, to the Irish — > 
Ogma. Lukianos (second century AD) 
equated him with — > Herakles. Bald- 
headed and wrinkled, carrying a bow and 
a club, he is supposed to symbolize the 
power of speech. It may be Ogmios who 
is portrayed on coins in the shape of a 
head, out of whose mouth an intertwined 
chain of tiny human heads proceeds. 
Ogmios has also been interpreted as 
Psychopompos, he who leads the dead. 

Okeanides The sons of the Greek 
water-god — > Okeanos; they are principally 
river-gods, as, e.g. — > Acheloos. 

Okeaninai The daughters of — > 
Okeanos and of — > Tethys. The best- 
known of them are — > Styx, and Doris, 
who provided the sea-god — » Nereus with 
fifty daughters. 

Okeanos The designation of the 
representative of the waters which girdle 
the earth, and from which all springs, rivers 
and lakes derive. The etymology of the 
name remains a mystery. Okeanos was sup- 
posed to be the son of the sky-god (— > 
Uranos) and the earth-goddess (—> Gaia) 
and husband of — > Tethys. He is portrayed 
as bearded and carrying a water-pot or urn. 

Okeus (Oke) For the Indians living in 
the Virginia area, this was the evil coun- 
terpart to the great god — > Ahone. The 
European colonists and missionaries 
declared him to be a devil. 

Okuninushi Japanese god of the art of 

healing and of magic. Once upon a time, it 
is related, he descended to the underworld, 
overcame the storm-god — > Susanowo, 
and robbed him of his weapons. 

Olifat (other forms of the name are 
Olafat or Yelafath) In the belief of the 
Caroline Islanders, a superhuman figure, 
part culture-hero, part rogue. His father 
was the sky-god, his mother was a mortal 
woman. On the one hand, he gave 
mankind fire - but on the other, he gave 
the shark its teeth so that it could eat men. 

Olmai (Olmay) Among the Lapps, this 
word denotes divine properties: thus, 
biegg-olmai is the wind-god, and — > 
waralden olmai is a god of universal 

Olokun In Yoruba cosmogony, the god 
of wealth and of the sea. He is often to be 
seen on Benin bronzes; he has legs like 
fish, and in each hand he holds a lizard. In 
days gone by, human sacrifice was made 
to Olokun, it is said, to placate the anger 
of the god. Among the Ika Ibo, Olokun 
was worshipped in the form of a water- 
jug. One Yoruba myth tells how he once 
wanted to sink the earth in the ocean but 
was prevented by the creator god Obatala 
(Aubatala) from carrying out his threat. 

Orion 143 


The supreme god of the Yoruba people. 
He it was who charged the sky-god — > 
Orisa Nla to create a fundament, and then 
he sent the rain vitally necessary for the 
growth of plants. The god has neither 
temples nor priests, and he can only be 
invoked as a last resort in the direst of 

Ometeotl (also known as Ometecutli, 
Tloque Nahuaque or Citlatonac) A 
high god in Aztec religion, who played lit- 
tle part, however, in cult and religious 
observance. He is 'he who is in the cen- 
tre-point', the god who embraces all 
things. He is immediately and directly 
present but remains invisible. He is the 
originator of all things: according to one 
tradition, indeed he thought himself up. 
His Maya counterpart is — > Hunab Ku. 



Onuris The Greek form of the god 
Anhuret, worshipped in the Upper 
Egyptian city of This (Thinis). The name 
Anhuret means something like 'he who 

brings the faraway'. He is portrayed in 
human form with four feathers on his 
head; in one hand he holds a lance. He is 
a deification of the royal hunter and war- 
rior, a function which is underlined by his 
epithet - 'lord of slaughter'. In the late 
period he merges with — > Su, who brings 
back the faraway eye of the sun. 

Ops Roman goddess of seed-growth 
and harvest, the wife of — > Saturn. It was 
in her honour that the harvest festival was 
celebrated on 25 August. The cult of Ops 
found a foot-hold in North Africa (among 
the ancient Berber tribes). 

Ora In Albanian popular belief, a 
female protective spirit. Every one of us 
is equipped with an ora from birth, which 
may have a white or a black visage 
according to whether the ora has a brave 
and industrious person to look after or a 
lazy, cowardly one. 

Orahan The sole god worshipped by 
the Canary Islanders on the island of 
Gomera; he is enthroned in heaven, and 
his implacable enemy is the demonic, 
woolly-haired Hirguan. 

Orcus A Roman god of the underworld, 
lord of the realm of the dead, equivalent to 
the Greek —> Hades. He appears as a 
fierce fighter who strikes the valiant to the 
ground and who runs down the cowardly 
fugitive. In popular belief he also appears 
as a demon with black wings. 

Ordog In ancient Hungarian belief, 
the deity controlling the dark forces 
of the world; after Christianization, a 
designation of the devil. 

Oreades In Greek mythology — > 
nymphs who lived in the mountains and 
in caves. 

Orion Son of the Greek sea-god — > 
Poseidon. He was a mighty hunter who 
was abducted by —> Eos to be her lover. 

144 OrisaNIa 

But the Olympians begrudged Eos her 
possession of the beautiful youth, and he 
was killed by an arrow from — > Artemis; 
according to another version, however, he 
was slain because he made sexual 
advances to the goddess herself or to one 
of her nymphs. Orion was elevated to 
the stars, where his constellation is still to 
be seen. 

Orisa Nla The sky-god of the Yoruba 
people in Nigeria; he is delegated by the 
supreme god — > Olorun to create the 
earth, the other gods and the first men. 

Oro War-god in Tahiti who ousted the 
ancient war-god — > Tu from this office. 
His father is — > Tangaroa. An image 
showing him in anthropomorphic form 
had a girdle of red feathers, a sign of 
highest rank. 

Orotal(t) Herodotus has given us this 
name of an ancient Arabian god, who may 
have corresponded to the Nabataean — > 
Dusares. The Greeks took Orotal to be 
equivalent to — > Dionysos. 

Orpheus The son of the Thracian 
river-god Oiagros and the Muse — > 
Kalliope. Apollon is often said to be 
his father. Orpheus can charm plants 
and animals with his singing and his 
luteplaying. When his wife Eurydice 
died, he moved the gods of the under- 
world so deeply with his singing that 
they restored her to him - but she had 
to go back to the underworld again 
because Orpheus disobeyed the com- 
mand of the gods and looked round at 
her. Later, he was torn to pieces by 
Thracian Maenads and interred by the — > 

Orunmila Among the Yoruba people 
in Nigeria the god of compassion, who 
comes down to earth to help people. 


(the consonantal script form is wsjr; the 
Coptic form is Usire) In ancient 
Egyptian religion, the son of the earth-god 
— > Geb and of the sky-goddess — » Nut. The 
main centres of his cult were, in Lower 
Egypt, Busiris (Dedu) where he merged 
into the figure of the ancient tutelary god 
Anezti, and, in Upper Egypt, Abydos, 
where he was equated with the god of the 
dead —> Chontamenti. The myth tells how 
Osiris was murdered and cut into pieces by 
his brother — > Seth: the remnants were col- 
lected by his sister — > Isis and given new 
life so that she could receive from Osiris 
her son — > Horus. Horus took over the 
royal inheritance of Osiris, while the latter 
acts as regent and judge in the realm of the 
dead, and causes the plants to sprout forth 
from the surface of the earth. This shows 
him as a fertility god, an aspect which 
is underlined by his connection with 
the annual flooding of the Nile. As the 
'eternally good being' he appears under the 
name of Wennofer. As lord of the under- 
world, Osiris represents the sun in its noc- 
turnal transit. He was even seen in certain 

Oya 145 

circles as a moon-god, the lunar phases 
being taken as tokens of the god's death 
and resurrection. His attributes are the 
crooked staff and the so-called scourge. 

Ostara A Germanic goddess who has 
given her name to the Easter festival. She 
is identical with the Anglo-Saxon god- 
dess Eostra mentioned by the Venerable 
Bede. In name and function the goddess 
parallels the Greek — > Eos and the Roman 
— > Aurora. She is the personification 
of the rising sun, associated by the 
Germanic peoples not with a time of day 
(dawn) but with a season - spring. 

Otos -¥ Aloades 

Ouiot The primeval father and 
moon-god of the Luiseiio Indians in south 
California. He told his people that three 
days after his death he would return to 
them, and this is said to have happened. 
Since the departure of Ouiot, men too 
must die. 

Oya Mother-goddess of the Yoruba 
people in Nigeria. She is the 'good 
mother', but as goddess of storms she has 
her terrifying aspect as well. She can even 
bend the spirits of the dead to do her bid- 
ding. She is goddess of dancing and is 
accordingly represented on the rods 
carried by Yoruba women in folkdances. 


Pabilsang A Sumerian god, the son of 
the god-king — > Enlil, and husband of — ¥ 
Nin'insina, the goddess of healing. In 
Babylonian times he was equated with — ¥ 

Pachamama A fertility goddess in the 
Inca Empire, and still revered in some of 
the Andean valleys. The name means 

Pachet ('she who scratches') An 
ancient Egyptian goddess of the desert, in 
the form of a lion. She was thought of in 
connection with the crown-goddess — ¥ 

Padmanartesvara ('lord of the dance, 
with the lotus') A form of the 
Bodhisattva — > Avalokitesvara. He is 
invariably depicted with one head, but he 
may have from two to eight or ten arms. 
In his two-armed form he is red in colour: 
in his left hand he holds a red lotus, with 
his right hand he makes a gesture associ- 
ated with dancing. 

Padmasambhava ('he who is born from 
the lotus') A Buddhist teacher (guru) 
from north India who spread Tantric 
Buddhism in Tibet in the eighth century 
AD. Tradition makes him out to have 
appeared in a lotus blossom, having been 
created by — ¥ Amitabha. He preferred to 
meditate in places of the dead. In Tibet, he 
is said to have changed many demons into 
— ¥ Dharmapalas. 



Pajainen In the Finnish myth of the 
slaughter of the great bull (or pig), this is 
the god who figures as the slaughterer. An 
attempt has been made to derive him from 

the Lappish god of thunder —> Pajonn, 
with the hammer or the axe of Pajonn 
acting as the instrument of slaughter. 

Pajonn The Lappish god of thunder. 
The name comes from pad a"i = 'above': 
the god is 'he who dwells above in 

Pales A Roman goddess who appears 
as a guardian of flocks and herds, a func- 
tion she shares with — > Inuus: she is the 
Pales Panda, i.e. the Pales 'who is to offer 
fodder'. Her feastday - 21 April - was 
celebrated as the birthday of Rome, in 
token of the city's founding by herdsmen. 

Palk The sun-god in the religion of 
ancient Korea, the founder of the realm of 
light and the adversary of — ¥ Kud. His 
cult was practised on mountain tops: here 
sacrifice was made to him, with stringent 
attention paid to the correct easterly 

Pan A god of fields and woods origi- 
nating in Arcadia; the son of the god of 
herds — ¥ Hermes and a nymph. He was 
represented with the horns and legs of a 
billy-goat, and it is in the guise of a randy 
goat that we see the mythical Pan pursu- 
ing — ¥ Nymphs. One of them, called 
Syrinx, changed herself into a reed to 
escape his clutches - so Pan cut several 
reeds and made himself the pan-pipes 
(syrinx). He had a habit of appearing out 
of the blue, especially in the hush of the 
noonday heat, and this caused panic 
among men and animals. The tale that 
Plutarch tells about the death of Pan 
shows that he was a vegetation-god. The 
name 'Pan' was not been satisfactorily 
explained; it has been connected with the 

Papas 147 

Greek word pan meaning 'all', which 
would elevate Pan to the status of an 
omnipotent or all-embracing deity. His 
counterpart among the Roman gods was 
— > Faunus. In late medieval speculation 
he was seen simply as the devil. 

Paricaraksa ('five-fold protection') 
A group of five Buddhist goddesses who 
were invoked to grant longevity and to 
protect certain villages or areas. They 
arose through the personification of five 
magical protective formulae (raksa) 
which, it is alleged, were once uttered by 
-> Gautama Buddha himself. 

Pandara ('the white one') A Buddhist 
goddess, the partner (prajna) of — ¥ 
Amitabha. Her element is fire and the 
passion of love. Iconographically, she 
appears in various forms. 

Pandora Created by — > Hephaistos at 
the behest of — » Zeus, and equipped with 
every seductive gift, she was despatched 
to earth as the first woman. With her she 
had a box (really a barrel: in Greek 
pithos) containing sorrow and misfortune. 

It is possible that she is a later version of 
an ancient earth-goddess, as the name, 
which means 'she who gives all' or 'she 
who is rich in gifts' has been applied to 
such a goddess also. 


(Pan-gu) A primeval giant in Chinese 
mythology. He was born from the five 
basic elements, and he used a hammer and 
chisel to form the heaven and the earth. 
According to another version of the myth, 
Pan-gu arose from the world-egg in which 
yin and yang were as yet undivided; and 
from these components he formed the 
earth (yin) and the heavens (yang). After 
the death of the giant, the sun arose from 
his left eye, the moon from his right eye, 
the rain from his sweat; his flesh decom- 
posed and fell apart to form the arable 
land, and the plants grew from his hairs. 

Papa —> Atea 

Papaja -> Isdustaja 

Papas A Phrygian god, equated by the 
Greeks with — ¥ Zeus. He is said to have 
impregnated a stone which then gave 
birth to the hermaphrodite — » Agdistis. 

148 Papsukkal 

Papsukkal An ancient Mesopotamian 
god: the messenger of the gods who also 
acts as watchman or gate-keeper. 

Para Goblin-like creatures in Finnish 
folk-belief; they are thought of as domes- 
tic spirits who take the form of snakes, 
frogs or cats, and who increase one's sup- 
ply of corn, milk, butter and money. 
Among the Baltic peoples a similar role is 
played by — > Pukis. 

Paramasva ('noblest of horses') Both 
the name of this Buddhist god and the 
horse's head he bears in his iconographic 
representation, remind us of — > 
Hayagnva. He is red in colour, with four 
faces and eight legs which he uses to 
trample on Hindu gods. 

Parasu-Rama ('Rama with the axe') 
The sixth incarnation of — ¥ Visnu, who 
took this form to break the tyranny of the 
warrior caste (the ksatriyas) and help the 
Brahmans to take power. At the behest of 
his father he used the axe (parasu) to kill 
his mother: this done, he pleaded success- 
fully for her reawakening. 

Parcae (Latin root parere = to bear, give 
birth) Originally, a pair of Roman god- 
desses of birth, named Decuma and — > 
Nona; later, under the influence of the 
Greek — > Moirai, a triad was formed by 
the addition of the goddess of death 
Morta. Together, the three were thereafter 
seen as the decisive influences on one's 
personal fate in life. 

Pariacaca The god of rain, water and 
thunder in the belief of the pre-Inca 
Indians in the central Andes. His sacred 
creature was the falcon. In myth, he is the 
adversary of the fire-god Caruincho. 

Parjanya ('rain-cloud') Old Indian 
rain-god and, accordingly, generator of 
vegetation. The fertilized earth is thought 

of as his wife. In the Rigveda he is 
represented in the form of a bull. 

Parnasavari In origin, this is a god- 
dess once worshipped by aboriginals in 
the subcontinent and who was then taken 
over by Buddhism. The name means 
'Savari of the leaves', i.e. Savari who 
has a loin-cloth of leaves. She occurs 
in two forms, one yellow and one green. 
Her garments consist of bunches of 
leaves, or she may be shown wearing a 
tiger-skin with a wreath of leaves. She is 
regarded as the goddess who routs all 



The penultimate in the series of the 24 — > 
Tirtharhkaras. According to the legend he 
was protected by the seven-headed snake- 
king Dharana from the attacks launched 
against him by the demonic Meghamalin. 
Hence, his symbolical creature is a snake, 
and on his head he wears a seven-fold 
snake's hood. It is probable that Parsva is 
based on a real historical personality - a 
prince who lived some 250 years before 
— > Mahavlra and who founded the order 
of the Nirgrantha, that is, 'untrammelled', 
those who have freed themselves from the 
bonds of Karma. 

Pazuzu 1 49 

ParvatI ('daughter of the mountains') 
The wife of the Hindu god — > Siva, the 
daughter of — ¥ Himavat, king of the 
mountains. Her son was the war-god 
Karttikeya (—> Skanda). ParvatI merges 
into the better-known goddess — > Durga. 

Pasiphae In Greek mythology, the 
wife of the Cretan king — > Minos. She 
was supposed to be a daughter of the sun- 
god — > Helios, and was also interpreted as 
a moon-goddess because of her name 
('she who shines on all'). The fruit of her 
union with a bull sent by — ¥ Poseidon was 
— > Minotauros. 

Pasupati ('Lord of cattle') Seals 
belonging to the ancient Indus cultures 
show this ithyphallic deity seated in the 
Yoga posture, surrounded by animals 
(especially snakes as symbols of fertility). 
In the Veda, Pasupati is one of the names 
of —> Rudra; later, the name was used for 
— > Siva in his aspect as a god of fertility. 
Pasu not only means 'cattle', 'beasts', but 
is also a designation for the soul; as 'Lord 
of the soul' the god leads his devotees to 
the 'end of sorrow', that is, to liberation. 
The cult of Pasupati is particularly wide- 
spread in Nepal. In one tradition, the god 
is said to have appeared in the shape of an 
antelope, and one of his horns, which was 
broken off when he was being hunted, 
was revered as his linga (phallus). 

Patecatl Aztec god of medicine and 
'lord of the pulque root'. His wife is the 
pulque-goddess — > Mayahuel. 

Pateke (sing: patek) According to 
Herodotus, protective whose images the 
Phoenicians fastened to the bow of their 
ships; in the light of this usage, the name 
was also applied to certain dwarf-like 
male beings in the late Egyptian period. 
These were supposed to be mainly a form 
of protection against wild animals, and 
images of them were worn as amulets 

round the neck to ward off evil. They were 
called the 'sons of — > Ptah'. The youthful 
Ptah could himself figure as a Patek; and, 
imported in this guise from Egypt, he was 
a popular figure in Carthage. 

Pattini The most important female 
deity of the Singhalese. She watches over 
marriage and keeps epidemics at bay; and 
she is said to have brought the cultivation 
of rice into Ceylon. The myth tells how she 
was born from a mango which had been 
struck by a divine arrow. 'Fire- walking' is 
a practice bound up with her cult. 

Pax Roman goddess of peace, equated 
with the Greek —> Eirene. It was during 
the rule of Caesar Augustus that she first 
acquired an altar on the Field of Mars 
(Ara Pacis Augustae). On coinage she 
appears as a youthful woman, with a 
garland of corn, a cornucopia and an 


An Old Mesopotamian (Assyrian) demon 
with four wings and a scowling visage. 
He was the representative of the stormy 
winds from the south-east, and he was 

150 Peitho 

feared as a bringer of illnesses. Our illus- 
tration shows his general appearance but 
does not show his scorpion's tail. His 
power to harm could be countered by 
various spells and incantations. 

Peitho A Greek goddess, the personi- 
fication of persuasion. She appears in the 
retinue of — > Aphrodite. 

Pekar (Pehar) A Tibetan demon-prince 
who probably played a part in the pre- 
Lamaist Bon religion, and who may also 
appear as a divine figure. He rides on a 
white lion, and is regent of the northerly 

Pele Volcano goddess on Hawaii, 
unpredictable and liable to sudden out- 
bursts of anger. Traditionally, she came 
originally from Kahiki (Tahiti), expelled by 
her divine brothers who could no longer put 
up with her insubordination. Pele is also 
called Hina-ai-malama ('Hina who eats the 
moon'). It is possible that she is the 
Hawaiian form of the common Polynesian 
moongoddess — > Hina; and both goddesses 
are also in control of lightning. 

Pellonpekko Finnish god of barley; 
his name comes from pelto = field. To 
him is due the first beer brewed from 
barley. In Estonia, Peko is a corn-god a 
waxen image of whom is kept in the corn- 
chest. St Peter is called Pekka in Finnish, 
and it was on St Peter's day that the festive 
beer used to be brewed; taken together, 
these points suggest Christian influence. 

Pemba (Bemba) Creator-god of the 
Bambara in West Africa. When he was let 
down by the world-spirit —> Yo on to the 
earth, a tree grew out of him, under which 
the humans who had been created by — > 
Faro, sought refuge. The divine primeval 
tree was tireless in coupling with women 
to engender living creatures. In order to 
strengthen the tree people sacrificed their 
blood to it. 

Penates (Di Penates) In ancient Rome, 
originally the divine protectors of the 
store-room (penus) and the supplies 
therein; later widened to signify house 
and family spirits in general. They were 
venerated together with the Lares, at the 
household hearth. These spirits had no 
proper names. The domestic penates, the 
protective spirits of the family, were par- 
alleled by the penates populi Romani, the 
protectors of the Roman people. 

Peneios A Thessalian river and its god 
who was a son of — > Okeanos and of — > 
Tethys. His daughter was — > Daphne. 

Perchten (Berchten) Demonic crea- 
tures in myth and folktale, especially in 
Alpine areas. They form the retinue of 
Frau — > Bercht, who sallies forth in deep 
midwinter. In folk-tale it is claimed that 
the devil mixes with the eerie throng, in 
the hope of grabbing a victim incognito. 
The old beliefs linger on in the Perchten 
processions with their grotesque demonic 

Perendi Old Illyrian name for God, 
related to the Lithuanian — > Perkunas, the 
god of thunder, and the Greek word 
keraunos = lightning. That is to say, 
Perendi was a storm-god. With the com- 
ing of Christianity, his name was retained 
in Albanian as the ordinary designation 
for God. 

Perit In Albanian folk-belief, female 
mountain-spirits clad in white. They pun- 
ished anyone who was wasteful with bread 
by making him a crooked hunchback. 

Perkons Latvian god of thunder, 
armed with sword, spear, iron arrows and 
an iron rod. As the bringer of rain he fos- 
ters fertility. In myth he also appears as 
the smith of heaven and in folk-tale he 
fights the devil. — > Perkunas is his 
Lithuanian equivalent. 

Phanes 151 

Perkunas Lithuanian god of thunder, 
bringer of rain and of fertility. He protects 
law and justice, and pursues demons. 
Sacred to him are the oak-tree and fire. 
He drives in his chariot over the clouds, 
holding an axe, which returns to his hand 
after he has hurled it at a target. He dis- 
guises himself as a hunter in order to 
hound the devil. 

Perse (Perseis) The wife of the Greek 
sun-god — > Helios. She embodies the 
underworld aspect of the moon-goddess. 
Another name for her is Neaira = the new 
one, i.e. the new moon. Her children were 
-> Kirke and — > Pasiphae. 

Persephone (also Persephassa; in Latin 
Proserpina) In Greek myth, the daughter 
of — > Zeus, and wife of — > Hades, who 
abducted her as a small girl (hence her 
name of Kore). Thereafter, she spends one- 
third of the year in the underworld (during 
this time the plants wither) and two-thirds 
of the year with her mother, the earth- 
goddess — > Demeter. Both Demeter and 
Persephone were venerated as goddesses 
of vegetation, and their myth was solemnly 
enacted in the Eleusinian mysteries. The 
plants consecrated to Persephone are the 
ear of corn and the pomegranate. 

Perses (Persaios) A Titan-like god of 
light, the son of — ¥ Perseus. From his 
union with Asteria, the stellar goddess, 
was born — > Hekate. 

Perseus Son of — > Zeus, who united 
with Danae in the form of a golden rain. 
Perseus was charged by Polydektes, king 
of Seriphos, to bring him the head of 
the — ¥ Gorgon Medusa, whose glance 
turned all those who met it to stone. The 
— > Nymphs gave him winged sandals 
and a cap which conferred invisibility, 
and from the gods he received a sickle- 
shaped sword with which he struck off 
the gorgon's head. On the way back to 

Seriphos, he rescued Andromeda from 
a sea-monster. 

Perun A Slavonic god of thunder, 
especially venerated in old Russia. His 
name is taken to mean 'striker'; the Polish 
word piorun means 'thunder'. Among the 
images of gods erected at Kiev, Perun was 
shown with a club as attribute. In the 
Balkans, bulls were sacrificed to him. It is 
doubtful whether Perun can be connected 
with the thunder-god of the Baltic peo- 
ples. Whether Perun is etymologically 
connected with the Lithuanian word — > 
Perkunas is not certain. 

Petbe Old Egyptian god of retaliation, 
whose cult was known in the Ptolemaic- 
Roman period. The word petbe means 
'the retaliator' and was also used as an 
epithet denoting one of the specific 
aspects of death. 

Petesuchos Old Egyptian crocodile- 
god, venerated in Fayum in the Graeco- 
Roman period. 

Pey Among the Tamils, demonic beings 
who are thought to have something to do 
with necrophagia. They are pictured as 
wild creatures with tousled hair who drink 
the blood of dead and wounded warriors, 
and who bring misfortune to the living. 
The word pey means 'devil' or 'goblin'. 

Phaethon ('the shining one') The son 
of the Greek sun-god — > Helios, who once 
allowed him to drive the sun-chariot. But 
Phaethon was too weak to control the fiery 
solar steeds: he came too close to the earth 
and caused a terrible fire. Whereupon — > 
Zeus hurled him in a flash of lightning into 
a stream, on whose banks his grieving sis- 
ters, the Heliades, were transformed into 
trees which drip amber tears. 

Phanes (Greek = he who appears) In 
Orphic teaching regarding the creation, 
the first god who arose from the primeval 

152 Phorkys 

egg which emerged from — ¥ Chronos. 
An older source has him sitting 'in the 
untrodden (space) of the cave of the 
night'. Yet another tradition says that holy 
night (— » Nyx) is his daughter, and from 
their union heaven and earth were gener- 
ated. In a sense, then, Phanes is the solar 
potentiality breaking forth from primeval 
darkness, and thus semantically coinci- 
dent with — > Mithras. 

Phorkys (also Phorkos) A Greek sea- 
god, whose epithet was krataios = 'the 
strong one'. He was the husband of Keto 
(ketos was a sea-monster), and their chil- 
dren were the hideous — ¥ Graii and the 
terrifying — ¥ Gorgons. Hesiod says that 
Phorkys was a son of the earth-goddess — ¥ 
Gaia and the sea-god — ¥ Pontos. 

Phosphoros ('he who brings light': also 
known as Heosphoros) The Greek god 
of the morning star. He was represented 
as a naked, winged youth hurrying ahead 
of his mother — ¥ Eos, or the sun-god — ¥ 
Helios, with a torch in his hand. In Latin 
he was called Lucifer. 

Picullus Old Prussian god of the 
underworld, who came to be identified 
with the prince of hell. In Old Prussian 
pickuls means 'devil'. 

Picus (Latin = woodpecker) In origin, 
perhaps, a soothsaying forest demon; 
later, the patron of husbandmen. The 
woodpecker was the creature sacred to — ¥ 
Mars, and was sometimes equated with 
the god. His son was said to be — ¥ Faunus. 

Picvu'cin The god of hunting and of 
wild creatures among the Chukchi in east 
Siberia. He is so small that he can ride on 
a tiny grass sledge drawn by mice; but he 
has the strength of a giant. He derives his 
nourishment not from solid food but from 
odours - probably those of the sacrifice. 

Pidrai The consort of the Phoenician 
god -¥ Baal. She probably represents 
some sort of meteorological phenomenon. 

Pinikir (also Pinenkir) A mother- 
goddess revered in Elam, comparable to 
the Babylonian — > Isar. It is uncertain 
whether Pinikir corresponds to the 
Kirissa who is often mentioned in invoca- 
tions to the gods. 

Pirwa (Peruwa) A Hittite deity, whose 
name is derived from peruna = cliff. An 
associated epithet is 'queen', but other- 
wise the deity is considered to be male. 
His attribute is the horse. 

Pistis Sophia Female abstract 
redeemer figure in a Gnostic work of the 
same name dating from the third century 
AD. Pistis Sophia claims equal status 
with God the creator, and describes her- 
self as 'The First and the Last'. The gnos- 
tic movement known as the Sethians 
called her Barbelo. 

Pitaras ('the fathers') In India, the 

venerable dead who were the first to fol- 
low the path to heaven found by —¥ Yama. 
The Atharvaveda describes them as 
immortal and divine beings, yet their 
world is not that of the gods. 

Pleiades In Greek myth, the seven 
daughters of —¥ Atlas, who were pursued 
by — ¥ Orion the hunter, and who were, for 
their own protection, placed by Zeus in 
heaven as a constellation. 

Plutos The Greek god of riches: first 
and foremost, the benefactor who gave 
mankind the boon of fanning, and, as 
such, the son of the earth-goddess — > 
Demeter and of the mortal Iasion, who 
was said to be the first sower of seed. 
Plutos had a temple in Eleusis but 
seems to have played no other role in rit- 
ual observances. In one of Aristophanes' 
comedies, the god appears as an old 

Poseidon 153 

blind man who distributes his gifts in a 
very haphazard and unfair way. In sculp- 
ture he is usually portrayed as a boy 
with a cornucopia, often on the arm of — > 

Podaleirios The son of the Greek god 
of healing — ¥ Asklepios. He was a doctor 
in the Greek army besieging Troy, and 
was revered as a Great Healer in Asia 
Minor and in Thessaly. 



Polyhymnia (also Polymnia) The — > 
Muse of grave and solemn song accom- 
panied by instruments. Her name means 
'she who is rich in songs'. She is gener- 
ally represented without any sort of attri- 
bute, in a posture of earnest meditation. 

Polyphem (Greek Polyphemos) The 
one-eyed son of the sea-god — > Poseidon, 
and the nymph Thoosa. He was one of the 
— » Cyclops, in whose cave Odysseus and 
his companions find themselves. 

Pomona A Roman goddess of ripen- 
ing fruit, the wife of the vegetation-god 
— > Vertumnus; she is often presented as 
the beloved of — > Picus. Her name comes 
from Latin pomum = fruit (of a tree). 

Pon The sky-god of the Yukagir who 
live in east Siberia. He causes day and 
night to succeed each other, and he gives 
the blessing of rain. The name means 
something like 'some(thing)'. If any cult 
attaches to his name, nothing is known 
of it. 

Pontos The classical Greek word for 
'sea', and the name of a sea-god. His 
union with his mother — > Gaia produced 
the sea-gods — > Nereus and — > Phorkys. 

Porenutius A Slavonic god wor- 
shipped on the island of Riigen; he was 
depicted as having four heads. 

Portunus Roman god of the house- 
entrance (Old Latin portus); subse- 
quently, the god of the Tiber basin, the 
'exit port' for Rome. On the day of his 
feast - the Portunalia, held on 1 7 August - 
people threw their door-keys into the 
fire in order to make them immune to 


Greek sea-god, the son of — » Kronos and 
of — » Rhea. The name is already attested 
in Mycenaean times, but the etymological 
meaning is not clear. In Homer, he rates 
as one of the most powerful gods along 
with the lord of heaven — > Zeus, and the 
god of the underworld — > Hades. He 
sends storms and earthquakes, but he may 
also favour the traveller with a good voy- 
age. In origin, Poseidon was possibly an 
old fertility god, in the shape of a horse, 
and venerated as the patron of horse- 
breeding; later on, the horse figured as his 
sacred animal, and in Corinth horse-races 
were held in his honour. As the god 
of earthquakes, he bore the name 

1 54 Pothos 

Enosigaios, 'earth-shaker'. Originally he 
was armed with lightning flashes, later 
replaced by the trident - the symbol of 
fishing. As Phytalmios, promoter of 
growth, he was close to the earth-goddess 
— > Demeter, and as sea-god he had — > 
Amphitrite to wife. Among his many chil- 
dren borne by various wives are — > 
Antaios, — > Orion and — > Polyphem. His 
Roman counterpart is — > Neptunus. 

Pothos A personification of a divine 
primeval force in late Phoenician cos- 
mogony. Pothos is primeval desire which 
unites with Omichle, darkness. Their off- 
spring are Aer, the 'unsullied of the spiri- 
tual', and Aura, 'the living exemplar 
moved by the spiritual'. According to 
Philon of Byblos, Pothos moved as a 
'dark' wind over the face of Chaos, and 
impregnated himself. 



Prajapati ('Lord of the creatures') In 
the Rigveda, the name of the divine cre- 
ator of the world. In the Atharvaveda he is 
said to be the creator of heaven and earth. 
The world arises as an emanation from 
his inexhaustible being. His function as 
a progenitor is underlined in the 
Mahabharata where he appears as pro- 
tective lord of the sexual organ. 
Occasionally, he takes the place of — > 
Varuna, whose sacred animal, the tor- 
toise, can be one of the forms Prajapati 
may assume. In Hinduism, Prajapati is 
understood as one of the names of the god 
— > Brahman. 

Prajna In Buddhism, the female 
principle: on the spiritual way, it is the 
intuition which complements the male 
technique of meditation. The meaning of 
the word prajna is 'wisdom' or 'insight'. 
The law of polarity specifies that prajna 
can be paired with certain male partners 
as their necessary complement. The 

personified prajnas form the passive 
components in this partnership; and 
accordingly, in iconographic representa- 
tion, they are always shown smaller than 
the god so complemented. When both 
are shown in the Yabyum position, the 
polarity is integrated. 

Prajnaparamita (Perfection of insight) 
The personification of a text of the same 
name, in which — > Gautama Buddha is 
supposed to have set out his teaching. As 
a female deity she figures in iconography 
from India to south-east Asia and Java, 
hardly changing in appearance and usu- 
ally equipped with the text in question. To 
those who worship her she gives insight 
and learning. Contemplation of her sym- 
bolizes the insight of transcendence, 
'insight which has reached the farther 

Preas Eyn God of the Khmer people in 
Kampuchea: he rides a three-headed 
elephant, hurls bolts of lightning and 
corresponds to the Indian — ¥ Indra. We 
are assured in ancient tradition that it was 
Preas Eyn himself who built the great 
temple complex of Angkor Wat, thus 
giving mankind on earth an image of the 
heavenly city. 

Preas Eyssaur A god of the Khmer 
people; he is a destructive god, but from 
death he engenders new life, and in this 
he corresponds to the Indian —> Siva. The 
upright stone pillar which the ancient 
Khmer kings adopted as the symbol of 
their authority is, in fact, a version of the 
linga symbol, characteristic of Siva. 

Preas Prohm A mythical primeval god 
of the Khmer, himself uncreated but con- 
taining within himself all power. Preas 
Prohm expressed no wish, but all that 
was hidden within him was revealed, and 
thus arose the world of appearances. 
Preas Prohm is represented as having four 

Ptah 155 

faces: he corresponds to the Indian — > 

Prende (north Albanian Prenne) Old 
Illyrian goddess of love, the female part- 
ner of the thunder-god — ¥ Perendi. Today, 
she is nothing more than a Catholic saint, 
but in Albanian folk-belief she still rates 
as zoja e bukuris, 'queen of beauty'. As is 
usual in many cultures, here too Friday is 
the day sacred to the goddess of love. 

Preta (Pali Peta) Spirits of the dead in 
Hindu and Buddhist belief. As befits the 
damned, they have ugly bodies and live in 
Yamaloka, the realm of — » Yama. In 
Buddhist iconography, certain deities 
(e.g. — > Mahakala) are often shown stand- 
ing on a Preta, thus symbolizing the 
power of the teaching. 

Priapos A Phrygian god of fertility, of 
gardens, bees, goats and sheep. In Greece, 
he was unknown until the Macedonian 
hegemony, and his cult never assumed sig- 
nificant proportions, either in Greece or in 
Rome. His father was said to be — ¥ 
Dionysos, and his mother — > Aphrodite, 
the goddess of love. His cult was most 
honoured in Asia Minor, and in Lampsakos, 
on the Hellespont, he is even supposed to 
have been the most important figure in their 
pantheon. He was represented as an ugly, 
satyr-like man with exaggerated genitals. 
Priapos played a second part too, as the 
patron of fishermen and sailors. 



Prithivi ('the wide (earth)') In India, 
the earth, felt as a mother and symbolized 
in the form of the cow; in Vedism, revered 
together with the god of heaven — > Dyaus. 
Among her children are the dawn (—* 
Usas) and fire (— > Agni). When she gave 
birth to — > Indra, the earth quaked. 

Prometheus ('he who thinks things out 
in advance') The son of the Titan — > 

Iapetos, who stole fire from the gods and 
gave it to man. As a punishment, he was 
chained to a rock in the Caucasus, and an 
eagle fed daily on his liver, which was 
self-restoring. Finally he was released by 
— > Herakles. Prometheus was a culture- 
hero who brought man not only fire but 
also handicrafts and art, and he was 
revered in Athens as the patron of crafts- 
men, particularly potters. One tradition 
makes him out to be the actual creator of 
the human race, as he formed men and 
women from clay and water. 

Proteus A divine 'old man of the sea' 
in Greek mythology. He was able to 
assume various shapes. He had oracular 
powers, and anyone smart enough to get 
hold of him could benefit from these. 



Psezpolnica 'Lady Midday' in 
Wendish (Serbian) folktale: her counter- 
part in Poland is Poludnica. She appears 
round about midday during harvest time, 
when the day is at its hottest, and drives 
people off their heads, weakens their 
limbs or cuts their heads off with a sickle. 
She is pictured as a woman with black 
hair, but sometimes as a whirlwind. 

Ptah Ancient Egyptian god who was 
particularly venerated in Memphis. As a 
god of handicrafts he soon acquired the 
status of a creator-god, whose instruments 
of creation were his heart and tongue; 
and through the power of the word he cre- 
ated the world. He is 'the primeval one', 
who contains within his own being 
the essence of the male — > Nun and the 
female — > Naunet. In popular belief he 
was the 'sculptor of the earth' who like — > 
Chnum, created all beings on a potter's 
wheel. Finally he came to be seen as 'Lord 
of world-order', and as 'chief of Duat', i.e. 
of the underworld. In the Ptolemaic 
period, Ptah had the status of a tutelary 

1 56 Puck 

god of Egypt, and the monarch was 
crowned in his temple. 

Puck In north Germany and 
Scandinavia a kind of goblin (the 
Norwegians call him Pukje); in English 
popular belief an evil spirit. The word was 
taken over by the Baltic peoples: — > Pukis. 

Pudicitia (Latin = modesty) A Roman 
goddess, the personification of chastity 
and demureness, represented as a mat- 
ronly figure, veiled or heavily cloaked. 
With the increasing erosion of morality in 
the Empire, her cult went out of fashion 
and was forgotten. 

Pugu The sun-god of the Yukagir in 
eastern Siberia. He is a champion of 
righteousness, and punishes all deeds of 

Pukis A kind of dragon in Latvian folk- 
belief. The name may well be of German 
origin (cf. — > Puck). As a rule, Pukis is not 
malevolent, indeed he may even help you 
to amass riches. In Lithuania, Pukys 
appears as a goblin-like domestic spirit: 
then again as a dragon bringing treasure. 

Pultuce — » Castur 

Pura (also under the name of Pore) The 
supreme god of the Indians in Guyana, 
also connected with the moon-god. The 
word is also used to denote a supernatural 
(divine) power of a general nature. 

Purusa ('human being') In India, the 
primeval man. The Purusa hymn in the 
Rigveda tells us that three quarters of him 
are immortal and belong to heaven; one 
quarter is mortal. From this mortal quar- 
ter he released his wife — > Viraj, and then 
he himself was born from her as universal 
spirit. Purusa assumed the form of a giant 
and was sacrificed by the gods: that is to 
say, he was ritually slain and separated 
into his constituent manifestations: head = 
heaven, navel = atmosphere, feet = the 
earth. In the Brahmanas and the 
Upanisads, Purusa serves as a designation 
for — > Prajapati, and in Buddhist texts the 
name is applied to — > Buddha. 

Pusan ('the prosperer') Old Indian 
god, who is described as radiant and 
toothless. He is married to the sun- 
maiden, and confers growth and prosper- 
ity through light. He watches over roads, 
protects travellers and guides the dead. 
His car is drawn by goats. 

Pwyll (Welsh = understanding, judg- 
ment) A god of the underworld wor- 
shipped in ancient Wales. It is told of his 
son Pryderi that he brought pigs from the 
underworld to Wales. 

Python A dragon which guarded the 
oracle of its mother, the earth-goddess — > 
Gaia, in Delphi. It was finally slain by 
— > Apollon. 


Qandisa A female demon who lives in 
springs and rivers in popular belief in the 
north of Morocco. She is particularly on 
the look-out for young men whom she 
first seduces and then robs of their rea- 
son. In one locality, sacrifice is made to 
her on the day of the summer solstice. It 
is possible that she is an up-dating of an 
ancient love goddess, possibly — > Astarte, 
who may have reached these parts via 

Qaynan A god in pre-Islamic south 
Arabia. The arabic word qain means 
'blacksmith' so Qaynan may well have 
been a god of smiths and their craft. 

Qormusta (Chormusta) Among the 
Mongolians, the highest of all the — > 
Tengri, i.e. the heavenly ones. As king of 
the gods he dwells in the centre of the 
world, and is connected with the genesis 
of fire. 

Quat The creator-god of the Banks 
Islanders in Melanesia. Out of boredom 
he created people, pigs, trees and rocks. 


('feathered snake') Originally, an 
ancient Mexican local god, possibly based 
on a historical priest-king; subsequently, 
the culture-hero of the Toltecs. The 
Aztecs furnished him with various 
offices: god of the wind, god of the zodiac 
(the feathered snake was a stellar symbol) 
and lord of knowledge. Born into the 
world by parthenogenesis (— ¥ Coatlicue) 
he is said to have been seduced by — ¥ 
Tezcatlipoca; whereupon he burned him- 
self to death and was transformed into the 
morning star. He was also seen as a 
moon-god who burns himself in the sun's 
fires in order to reappear in renewed 
youth. As divine priest, Quetzalcoatl is 
the counterpart of the divine warrior 
Tezcatlipoca. He is also the creator of 
the first humans, whom he kneaded 
together out of the meal of the rubbed- 
down 'jewel-bone', mixed with his own 

Quilla (Mama-Kilya = mother moon) 
The moon-goddess who was especially 
deeply venerated in the Inca Empire. She 
was closely associated with the Inca 
calendar, as feast-days were nominated 
according to the phases of the moon. 

Quirinus This god was revered along 
with — > Jupiter and — > Mars as the third 
member of an ancient divine triad. 
Originally, he was the local god of the 
Sabines dwelling on the Quirinal; there- 
after he appeared in a military function, 
defensive rather than offensive. He is 
therefore depicted peaceably disposed, as 
a bearded man in garments which are 
partly clerical and partly military. His 
sacred plant was the myrtle which was 
regarded in antiquity as the symbol of 

158 Quiritis 

bloodless victory. Later, his cult fused 
with that of the deified — > Romulus. 

Quiritis The protective deity of mother- 
hood in the Sabine pantheon, correspon- 
ding to some extent to — ¥ Juno. 

Quzah An ancient Arabian god of 
storms and thunder, who was worshipped 
in the neighbourhood of Mecca. His 
weapon is a bow which he uses to shoot 
the arrows of hail. 


Radha In Indian tradition, a cow-girl 
who was the beloved and/or wife of — > 
Krisna. Their love for each other symbol- 
izes the relationship between the deity 
and the individual soul. Radha is 
accorded divine status and accordingly 
worshipped by certain Vishnuite sects. 

Rahab A monster of chaos in the Old 
Testament, the exemplar of powers inimi- 
cal to God (Job 9: 13; 26: 12). Visualized 
as a sea-serpent. 

Rahu The Indian demon of eclipses: in 
cosmogony, the ascending node in the 
lunar path. He drives in a car drawn by 
eight black horses, and pursues sun and 
moon with his jaws open. Whenever he 
succeeds in swallowing one or the other, 
there is an eclipse. He is also portrayed on 
the chariot of the Buddhist goddess — > 

Raksas (Sanskrit raksasas = malignant 
demon) In Vedism, nocturnal demons 
who go about in the shape of dogs or 
birds, harming people. Their king is — > 
Ravana, who abducts — > Sita, the bride of 
— > Rama. 

Raluvimbha The supreme god of the 
Baventa who live in the north of the 
Transvaal in South Africa. The god's 
name contains the word luvimbha = 
eagle. All natural manifestations such as 
thunder, earthquake, drought and flood 
are regarded as his handiwork, and so are 
epidemics. The tribal chief is permitted to 
speak with Raluvimbha, whom he 
addresses as 'grandfather'. 

Rama ('The dark-coloured one') Also 
called Ramacandra ('Rama the moon'). 

He corresponds to the seventh incarnation 
of the Indian god — > Visnu. In the 
Ramayana, the heroic saga of India, it is 
told how Rama conquers the king of 
the demonic — > Raksas, and frees his 
wife — > Sita. In iconography, his attrib- 
utes are a bow and arrows. A cult of Rama 
is attested from the eleventh century 
onwards, and in Vishnuite north India 
his name is a designation for the 
supreme god. More than one north Indian 
royal dynasty saw Rama as their divine 

Ran A sea-woman in Nordic mythol- 
ogy, the daughter of — » Aegir. She pos- 
sesses a net with which she fishes up all 
those who have been drowned. Later, she 
acquired the status of a goddess of the 
dead ruling over her own necropolis. 

Ran-deng (Chinese = burning lamp) 
In Chinese legend, a beggar-woman who 
saved up her money until she could afford 
to light a lamp at Buddha's altar: where- 
upon it was prophesied that, as a reward, 
she would be a future Buddha. According 
to another tradition, Ran-deng was a 
celebrated Taoist teacher who intro- 
duced Buddha to the teaching that leads 
to perfection. 

Rangi A Polynesian sky-god. For the 
Maori in New Zealand he and the earth- 
goddess Papa form the divine primeval 
pair from whose warm embrace all living 
beings arose, led by the gods such as — > 
Tangaroa and — > Tane. 

Raphael (Hebrew = blessing from God) 
In the Old Testament Apocrypha, the 
angelic travelling companion of the young 
Tobias. Later, he became the patron saint 

160 Rapithwin 

of pilgrims and travellers - indeed, the 
embodiment of the protective angel in 
general. He is regarded as one of the four 
(or seven) archangels. It has been sug- 
gested that his name is connected with that 
of the — ¥ Rephaim. 

Rapithwin Old Iranian god of midday, 
lord of summer and of the southerly 

Rasnu In old Iranian religion, the 
personification of righteousness, the god 
of Ordal and guardian of the Cinvat 
bridge which leads to the beyond. He also 
makes an appearance at the last judgment, 
where he weighs our good and bad deeds 
in golden scales. Under the name of 
Rajna he was also known in north India. 



Ratnapani A — > Dhyani-Bodhisattva of 
minor importance. He is green in colour; 
in his right hand he holds the jewel, in his 
left the moon-disc on a lotus. 

Ratnasambhava ('born of a jewel'; in 
China, known as Bao Sheng Fo) A — ¥ 
Dhyani-Buddha; he is yellow in colour, 
his heavenly quarter is the south and his 
season is spring. His car is drawn by a 
pair of lions or by a horse. His left hand 
reposes in his lap with the palm turned 

Ratri In Indian mythology, the night, 
sister of the dawn (—¥ Usas). As a bene- 
volent goddess, she is invoked for protec- 
tion against robbers and wolves. 

Rat-taui (Rait-taui, 'Sun of the two 
lands') Ancient Egyptian goddess, wife 
of — > Month, mother of — ¥ Harpre. She 
was represented in human form with a 
vulture's crest, and cow's horns with the 
sun's disc. The Greeks transcribed her name 
as Ratus, and identified her with — ¥ Leto. 

Raudna A Lappish goddess, wife of 
the thunder-god — ¥ Horagalles. Her name 
means 'rowan' (mountain ash), and could 
be related to the Finnish — ¥ Rauni. 

Rauni Finno-Ugrian philologists dis- 
agree as to the exact identity of this figure 
in Finnish mythology: some regard her 
as the wife of the thunder-god — > Ukko, 
others take her to be a male deity. In any 
case, it seems clear that he/she has some- 
thing to do with fertility. Etymologically, 
equation of the name with the Lappish — ¥ 
Raudna ('rowan') has been suggested. 
The figure of Rauni has also been con- 
nected with the rainbow which is, of 
course, associated with rainstorms. 

Ravana The ten-headed and twenty- 
armed prince of the demonic — ¥ Raksas, 
in Indian mythology. It was in order to 
break his power that Visnu was born as 
the prince — ¥ Rama. 


(Ra; in Middle Babylonian texts Ria) 
The old Egyptian name of the sun and 
of the sun-god, whose cult was already 

Ribhus 161 

established at an early date in On (the 
Greek Heliopolis, 'sun-city'). He united 
with — ¥ Harachte, from whom he took 
the falcon-head which accompanies his 
anthropomorphic guise. Through his 
union with — ¥ Atum, he became the 
creator of the world; and he was also 
identified with other gods, e.g. with — > 
Amun and with the crocodile-god — ¥ 
Suchos. From the fourth dynasty onwards 
the Pharaohs describe themselves as 'sons 
of Re'. In his barque, the sun-god and 
guider of worlds fares across the ocean of 
heaven, accompanied by his vizier — > 
Thot and his daughter —¥ Maat, who per- 
sonifies cosmic order. The orb of the sun 
was taken to be the visible body of the 
god, but it was also regarded as his eye. 
Symbols of his cult were the obelisks 
whose pinnacles (often gilded) were 
struck by the first rays of the rising sun. 

Reahu The name given by the Khmer 
people to the dark demon who pursues the 
sun and the moon through the heavens in 
order to swallow them (cf. — ¥ Rahu). 

Remanta In Buddhism, king of the 
horsegods and lord of the easterly quarter 
of heaven. He rides on a red horse and 
holds a red banner; he is accompanied by 
birds like falcons and vultures. 

Renenutet Ancient Egyptian goddess 
of agriculture and harvest. When the crops 
were being gathered in and the grapes 
were being pressed, sacrifice was made to 
the goddess who was then represented in 
the image of a snake. Her name consists of 
two components: renen = food, nourish- 
ment and utet = snake. One of her epi- 
thets was 'queen of the orchards'. The 
Greeks called her Thermuthis. 

Rephaim (root RP: the m is the plural 
marker) Ancient Syrian chthonic 
beings, bound up with the concept of fer- 
tility. It is not clear whether they rated as 

'divine beings' or as 'spirits'; and there is 
some evidence to suggest that they were 
denizens of the underworld. In the Old 
Testament, certain giants are called 

Reret Ancient Egyptian hippopotamus- 
goddess, whose name really means 'sow': 
an indication of maternal fecundity which 
tirelessly creates new life. 

Resef The Canaanite-Phoenician god 
of lightning and of plagues; identified by 
the Greeks with —¥ Apollon. His name 
means 'fire' or 'plague', and the word 
resep is used in both meanings in the Old 
Testament (Deuteronomy 32: 24; Psalm 
76: 4). Resef is the god of pestilence who 
spreads death around him and who bears 
the epithet 'lord of the arrow'. He was 
taken over by the Egyptians who made 
him into a war-god, represented with 
shield and club (or ball-axe?); instead of 
the uraeus in his Upper Egyptian crown 
he has the head of a gazelle. 

Rhadamanthys The brother of the 
Cretan king — ¥ Minos: he rules over the 
Islands of the Blessed, whither are sent 
the souls of heroes beloved of the gods. 

Rheia (Rhea) The daughter of the sky- 
god — ¥ Uranos and the earth-goddess — ¥ 
Gaia, sister and wife of — ¥ Kronos and 
mother of — ¥ Zeus, — ¥ Poseidon, — ¥ Hades 
and — ¥ Hera. She was later equated with the 
Anatolian mother of the gods — ¥ Kybele. 

Ribhus A triad of Indian gods of 
somewhat inferior rank, named Ribhu, 
Vaja and Vibhvan; they were the sons of 
— ¥ Indra and of Saranyu, a daughter of — ¥ 
T vastar. According to one tradition they 
were of human descent and their promo- 
tion to divine status was a reward for their 
skilful work - for example, they provided 
Indra and the — ¥ Asvins with the vehicles 
they ride in. 

162 Rigenmucha 

Rigenmucha The supreme being of 
the Papuan tribe of the Baining (in the 
Gazelle Archipelago of New Guinea). He 
is conceived as a lone, disembodied being 
above the clouds. He created the world 
and from him come both life and death. 

Rind (Rinda, Old Icelandic Rindr) A 
north Germanic goddess. Her name has 
not been satisfactorily explained, but it 
may be connected with the word rind = 
ivy, an etymology which would associate 
the goddess with the generative powers of 
growth. She has also been interpreted as 
an earth-goddess. A liaison between her 
and — ¥ Odin produced —> Vali. 

Risabha The first herald of salvation 
(— ¥ Tlrthamkara) in Jainism. He is golden 
in colour and is symbolized by the bull. 

Risis ('seers') In Vedism, the singers of 
holy songs before the dawn of time: holy 
ones raised to supernatural status who 
form the seven stars of the Great Bear. In 
the post-Vedic age, other Risis are men- 
tioned, including — » Daksa and — > 

Romulus Son of the vestal priestess 
Rhea Silvia and the war-god — > Mars. 
Romulus was exposed in the Tiber along 
with his twin brother Remus; they were 
suckled by a wolf and reared by a herds- 
man. When Rome was founded, Romulus 
slew Remus and became the first king of 
the thriving city. At the close of his life he 
is supposed to have journeyed up to 
heaven in a fiery chariot; later, he was 
revered as the god — > Quirinus. 

Rongo (known in Tahiti as Ro'o, in 
Hawaii as Lono) Polynesian god of 
peace and agriculture. It is he who causes 
the food plants to grow. He abominates 
blood sacrifice. On Mangareva he is the 
rain-god who manifests himself in the 
rainbow. Rongo loves song and festivities. 

The name means 'sound', 'noise'; he is 
therefore 'the sounding one', represented 
by the islanders on Mangaia as a large 
Triton's horn. 

Rosmerta A goddess of fertility and 
riches who was particularly venerated in 
north-east Gaul, among the Lingones, 
the Treveres and the Mediomatrikes. 
Iconographically she is shown with cor- 
nucopia and caduceus, the staff with two 
snakes. The presence of the latter attribute 
has led some scholars to identify the god- 
dess as the female counterpart of the 
Gallic — > Mercurius. 

Ruda (also in the form Radu, from the 
root RDW = to be gracious) A pre- 
Islamic deity revered in north Arabia, 
sometimes male, sometimes female and 
usually associated with the evening star. 
In Palmyra, Ruda was known under the 
name of — > Arsfl. 

Rudianos A Gallic local god of war- 
like character, a manifestation of the 
Gallic — » Mars. The name is related to the 
root radio = red. 

Rudra Indian god of storms, father of 
the — » Maruts. In the Rigveda he appears 
as a vengeful archer, who fires his arrows 
of sickness at gods, men and animals. In 
his terrible aspect he appears as ruddy or 
blackish, but he can also be a benign god 
who shines like the sun and whose epithet 
is sankara = he who does good deeds. He 
is a ready helper of the sick and a lord of 
animals; in this latter capacity he appears 
in the form of a bull. In older periods of 
Hinduism. Rudra is identified with Siva. 
The name Rudra is interpreted as mean- 
ing 'the howler' or 'the red one'. 

Rugievit ('Lord on Riigen') A god 
who was once worshipped on the island 
of Riigen by the Slavs who originally 
lived there. His function was probably 

Ruti 163 

warlike. According to the ancient Danish 
historian Saxo Grammaticus he was por- 
trayed with seven heads and a sword in 
one hand. 

Rundas Hittite god of hunting and 
good fortune. His emblem is a double 
eagle with a hare in each of its talons. 

Rusalka Demonic female beings among 
the east Slavs. They are water-nymphs who 

dance in forest clearings and meadows on 
the night of the new moon. Their shrill 
laughter can be fatal to men. 

Ru Shou 

■ Gou Mang 

Ruti A pair of lions revered in the 
ancient Egyptian city of Letopolis. They 
were early identified with — » Su and — > 
Tefnut. Among their functions was the 
nourishment of the dead. 


Sabazios (Sabos) Phrygian god of 
agriculture and midwifery, whose figure 
merged to some extent with that of the 
Jewish Zebaoth (—> Jahwe). The cult of 
Sabazios spread by way of Thrace to 
Greece and Rome. His epithet Bassareus 
identifies him as one 'clad in a long fox- 
skin'. Ceremonial contact with a snake 
formed part of his rites. The orgiastic 
nature of his cult, rich in nature symbol- 
ism, sometimes caused him to be equated 
with — > Dionysos. The Romans identified 
him with — > Jupiter. 

Sachmet ('she who is powerful') Old 
Egyptian goddess of war, completing, 
along with her husband — > Ptah and her son 
— > Nefertem, the triad of Memphis. She 
accompanied the Pharaoh (as whose 
mother she figured) to war, and spread fear 
and alarm everywhere. She was armed with 
arrows 'with which she shoots through 
hearts'. The hot winds of the desert are the 
fiery breath of the goddess. She was also 
associated with the fire-spitting uraeus of 
the monarch, thus becoming the 'eye of — > 
Re'. She was represented as a lioness or as 
a woman with a lion's head. Sachmet was 
regarded as a mistress of magic who put her 
supernatural skills at the service of the 
healer's art and craft. 



Saddai In the Old Testament, a very 
obscure epithet of — > Jahwe: in the com- 
bination 'el saddai' it is usually translated 
as 'God the almighty' or 'most high God'. 

Sadrapa An ancient Syrian god of 
healing; in Palmyra he was represented as 
a youth with a snake or a scorpion. He 
was also venerated in Carthage and in the 

Roman city of Leptis Magna and further, 
under the name of Satrapas, in some 
coastal areas of Greece. 

Safa The god of weapons among the 
Ossetians (in the Caucasus): in particular, 
the tutelary spirit of the chain associated 
with the household hearth. Children and 
newly-married couples were commended 
to his care - always in connection with the 

Sai (the Greek form is Psais) In ancient 
Egypt the personification of destiny and 
its shaping. He is the beneficial power 
which co-operates with — > Renenutet to 
make human life possible. Like the Greek 
— > Agathos Daimon he can be represented 
as a snake. 

Saitan The Arabic form of the name 
— > Satan. In pre-Islamic writings the 
name is found as a synonym of — > Jinn. 

Sajigor A god in the pantheon of the 
Kalas people in the Hindu-Kush, possibly 
with a military function. His cult symbol 
is a knife. 

Sakra ('the powerful one') One of 
the divine princes in the Jain pantheon. 
In canonical scripture he is called 
Devadhipati = Lord of gods. In his choice 
of riding animal (the elephant Airavata) 
and weapon (vajra = thunderbolt) he cor- 
responds to — ¥ Indra in the Brahmin- 
Hindu pantheon. In Buddhist texts, Sakra 
(in Pali Sakka) is the name of the Hindu 
Indra, but is construed as a purely 
Buddhist figure. As divine king, Sakra 
leads the fight against the demons. 

Sakti ('power') Female creative energy, 
usually personified in Hinduism as a 

Sanda 165 

goddess. Sakti is allotted to the male 
creative principle as consort, a role in 
which she appears as — > Durga, as — > 
Laksmi or as — > Parvatl. In popular belief 
— > Kamaksi is venerated as the supreme 
Sakti. The Tantric symbol of Sakti is 
the yoni (womb) which unites with the 
lingam of — » Siva to express the unity of 
all opposites. 

Sala(s) Old Mesopotamian goddess, 
the wife of the Akkadian weather-god — > 
Adad, or of — > Dagan, who was taken 
over from the west Semites. 



Salman (Salman) Pre-Islamic god 
revered in north Arabia; his name means 
'peace', 'blessing'. 

Salus (Latin = salvation, rescue) A 
Roman goddess personifying the general 
welfare of the state (salus publico); later 
identified with the Greek — * Hygieia, and 
revered as the protector of health. She is 
accompanied by a snake. Another of her 
attributes is a bowl. 

Samael (Sammael, Samiel) The name 
of an angel in apocalyptic writing. From 
the third century onwards, a Jewish desig- 
nation for — > Satan, who leads men astray 
into all sorts of evil doings. He is best 
known for his erotic relationship with — > 
Lilith. Samael is also occasionally taken 
to be an angel of death. 

Samantabhadra ('he who is completely 
fortunate') One of the eight great — > 
Bodhisattvas; he was an emanation from 
— > Vairocana. Only in Tibet, under the 
name of Kun-tu-bzanpo, did he assume 
greater significance as the primeval 
Buddha (— > Adhibuddha). In oriental art 
he is shown enthroned on a white ele- 
phant, the symbol of strength and wis- 
dom. In China he is known as Bu-xian, in 
Japan as Fu-gen. 

Samas The Semitic word for the sun 
became the name of the Babylonian sun- 
god; during the day he sees all things, and 
hence is the god of justice and of the ora- 
cle. He is symbolized by the sun's disc 
and a four-pointed star, surrounded by 
rays. In Assyria, the emblem was the solar 
disc with wings. Otherwise, he is repre- 
sented as a king seated on a throne. Samas 
is 'judge of the heavens and of the 
earth': justice and righteousness, Mesaru 
and Kettu, are in fact hypostatized into 
personifications who accompany him at 
all times. By night the sun-god moves 
through the underworld, bringing light 
and nourishment to the dead. 

Sampsa A Finnish god of vegetation, 
whose name means 'sedge'. When 
Sampsa lies idle in bed, enjoying his win- 
ter sleep, neither rye nor oats can prosper. 
So the god must be roused. Before sow- 
ing, he celebrates marriage with his step- 
mother. Sampsa is also seen as a sower 
who sows pines, fir and juniper. 

Sams A pre-Islamic deity whose 
Arabic name means 'sun'. In north 
Arabia, the deity was conceived as male 
(like the Mesopotamian — > Samas); but as 
female in south Arabia. The south 
Arabian sun-goddess has the epithet 
aliyat = she who is lofty. 

Samvara (also Cakrasamvara) A god 
of initiation in Tantrism. His mandala 
shows him as four-faced and with twelve 
arms; his sacred cord is a snake, and his 
crown consists of five skulls. His female 
consort is — > Vajravarahi. 

Sanda An ancient Luvian god in Asia 
Minor, the associate of —» Kubaba. On 
occasion, he appears as — > Marduk, an 
import from Babylon. He was also known 
in Cilicia and Lydia under the name of 

166 Sangarios 

Sangarios An ancient Anatolian 
(Phrygian) river-god. His daughter Nana 
(an epiphany of the Magna Mater) is 
impregnated by the fruit of an almond 
tree, and gives birth to — » Attis. 

Sango God of thunder among the 
Yoruba in Nigeria. On his head he bears a 
large axe with six eyes. The thunder is 
represented by the bellowing of the ram, 
the animal sacred to the god. 

Saosyant (a later form is Sosans) In 
Iran, originally the title of the eschatolog- 
ical hero and coming saviour. According 
to the Avesta, he renews the world 
and resurrects the dead. He carries out the 
sacrifice of the bull Hadayos, and from 
its fat mixed with Haoma juice he pre- 
pares a draught of immortality for all of 

Saps The goddess of the sun in 
Ugaritic myth. She is called 'the light of 
the gods'. 

Saptaksara ('seven-syllabled') A 
form of the Buddhist god — > Heruka. He 
is blue in colour, six-armed and three- 
headed, each head having three eyes. His 
plaited crown is adorned with a double 
thunderbolt and the sickle moon. On his 
knee is seated his — > prajna who is 
embracing him. He is surrounded by six 
other goddesses who form his mandala. 

Sar and Salim Old Syrian deities rep- 
resenting morning and evening, or per- 
haps the morning and the evening star. 
The word sar or sachar really means 
'dawn', and is found in the Old Testament 
(Isaiah 14: 12). It has been suggested that 
the place-name Jerusalem - in Hebrew 
jerusalajim - means the place 'founded' 
by the god Salim. 

Sara The ancient Mesopotamian god 
of the town of Umma; he was said to be 
the son of — > Inanna. 


In origin, an ancient Indian river goddess. 
In the Brahmanas, she is identified with 
speech, whence she is promoted to 
become goddess of eloquence and wis- 
dom, identified with — > Vac. The Hindus 
venerate her as Vagdevi, 'goddess of lan- 
guage'. She is regarded as both the cre- 
ation and the wife of — ¥ Brahma, and as 
the mother of the Vedas. She rides on a 
swan (less frequently on a peacock) or sits 
on a lotus. In her manifestation as 
Vajrasarasvati she is three-faced and six- 

Sarkany A weather-demon of the 
ancient Hungarians: he had seven or nine 
heads, lived in the underworld and was 
armed with a sabre and the morning star. 
Seated on his charger he rides along with 
the thunderclouds, often accompanied by 
a magician. Sarkany can turn people into 
stones. In Hungarian folktale the name is 
applied to a dragon. 

Sarpanitu (Akkadian = 'she who shines 
silver') The wife of the Babylonian chief 
god — > Marduk. Under the epithet of Erua 
she figured as the goddess of pregnancy. 

Satyr 1 67 

Sarruma (Sarrumma) Old Anatolian 
god (Hurrian): the 'king of the moun- 
tains', the son of the weather-god — > 
Tesub, who appears in the form of a bull, 
and — ¥ Hebat. Thus, Sarruma is also 
known as 'bull-calf. He rides on a pan- 
ther, and he is armed with an axe. 

Sasana-deva, Sasana-devi ('gods and 
goddesses of the teaching') Jainist 
divinities who accompany each 
Tlrtharh kara. While they are redeemed 
and raised above all earthly things, the 
gods are still accessible via prayer. 
Among their names are many which 
occur also in the Brahmin-Hindu pan- 
theon, e.g. —¥ Brahma, —¥ Kubera, — > 
Varuna, — > Kali, —¥ Gauri. 

Satan (Hebrew = the adversary; Greek 
form Satanas) In the Old Testament, 
Satan appears as the 'prosecutor' before 
the heavenly court (Zechariah 3: 1 ff; Job 
1 : 6; 2: 7 ff ) but he also figures as the chief 
seducer and tempter (1 Chronicles 21: 1), 
while in the Christian scheme of things he 
is the embodiment of evil (Mark 4: 15). In 
the apocryphal book of Henoch it is told 
how Satan rebelled against God and was 
hurled by the angel —¥ Michael into the 
abyss. Satan is the devil pure and simple, 
the 'prince of this world'; and he can be 
imagined in the form of a snake or a 
dragon. Other names for him are — > 
Beelzebub and — > Belial. 

Sataran (Istaran) Ancient Mesopo- 
tamian god who appears both as judge 
and as doctor. As regards the latter aspect, 
it is fitting that the snake-like — ¥ Nirah 
should figure as his messenger. 

Sati In Indian mythology, the daughter 
of — > Daksa, and the wife of — > Siva. Grief- 
stricken by reason of her husband's dispute 
with her father, she seeks release in death. 
Her corpse is dismembered by — > Visnu, 
but the goddess is reborn as — ¥ Parvatl. 

Satis The wife of the ancient Egyptian 
creator-god — ¥ Chnum; the 'Queen of 
Elephantine' and donator of the cooling 
waters of the cataract. She was repre- 
sented anthropomorphically with the 
crown of Upper Egypt on her head, 
flanked by two curved antelope horns. 

Saturnus The Roman god of agricul- 
ture, presumably taken over from the 
Etruscans. As early as the fifth century 
BC his temple stood on the Forum, acting 
as the Roman treasury (the aerarium). 
At his feast, the Saturnalia, held on 
1719 December, it was the custom for 
masters to serve their slaves; and people 
gave each other candles as presents, 
whose light was supposed to be a magi- 
cal contribution to the failing powers 
of the winter sun. In Roman myth, 
Saturnus appears as husband of — > Ops 
and father of — > Jupiter. His name is con- 
nected with the concept of a golden age. 
From the third century AD onwards, 
Saturn was identified with the Greek — > 

Saturnus Africanus This god was 
revered in Roman North Africa. In some 
respects, he is reminiscent of the Punic — > 
Baal. He appears as a bearded old man, 
and is regarded as lord of heaven, of time 
and of agriculture. His attributes com- 
prise sickle, honey-comb or fircone and 
a lion. He is the 'holy god' (deus sanctus) 
and 'god of fruits' (deusfrugum). 

Satyr The satyrs were the licentious 
and lecherous crew who accompanied the 
Greek god —¥ Dionysos. They were 
thought to be hybrid creatures, half-man, 
half-horse, with animal ears, a rough tou- 
sled pelt, horns and a tail, and they were 
usually depicted as ithyphallic. They 
were related to the — > Silenes as demons 
of fertility, indeed often hardly to be 
distinguished from them. 

168 Saule 


The Latvian sun-goddess; in mythology 
and in folktale she is hailed sometimes as 
'sun-virgin' and then again as 'mother 
sun'. She is wooed by the sky-god — > 
Dievs and the moon-god — > Meness. 
Saule herself was thought of as dwelling 
on her farm or estate on top of the moun- 
tain of heaven, and she was invoked in 
prayer to foster the fruits of the earth. 
Among the Lithuanians, Saule (the sun) 
figures less prominently as a deity, having 
been set in heaven by the divine smith; 
but here too we find the tradition that sun 
and moon (— > Menulis) form a conjugal 

Saules meitas These were the 'daugh- 
ters of the sun' in ancient Latvian mythol- 
ogy, and are often mentioned together 
with the — > Dieva deli. While the daugh- 
ters of the sun sow roses, the sons of the 
sky-god strew golden dew. 

Sauska (Sawuska, Sausga) A goddess 
worshipped by the Hurrians who lived in 
Asia Minor; functionally, she is compara- 
ble to the old Mesopotamian goddess of 
love — > Istar. Like Istar, Sauska not 
only confers health and fertility: she has 

warlike traits as well, and her name means 
'she who is armed'. She is portrayed 
wearing the cap normally reserved for 
male deities, and a slit skirt which leaves 
her legs free. Wings sprout from her back. 
Her sacred animal is the lion. Sauska's 
reputation as a goddess of healing 
reached as far afield as Egypt. 

Savitar The Vedic god who oversees 
the whole span of heaven, and who drives 
man and animals to activity (Savitar 
means 'stimulator'). He drives in a golden 
chariot and has golden arms which reach 
to the frontiers of heaven: in other words, 
a solar god. 

Saxnot ('sword-companion': cf. Old 
High German sahs = knife, sword) 
Originally, the tribal god of the Saxons, 
who is mentioned in an old Low German 
manuscript along with Donar and Wodan 
(— > Odin). He is probably a local form of 
— > Tyr. 

Sebettu (Akkadian = the seven) 
Designation of a group of demons, some 
benign, others malignant. The seven 
malevolent demons are in fact the prog- 
eny of the sky-god — > An, but that 
does not prevent them from helping the 
plague-god — > Erra; they also encircle 
the moon, thereby causing an eclipse. The 
benign seven appear as adversaries of 
these malignant spirits. Sebettu was also 
the Akkadian name for the Pleiades. 

Sechat-Hor ('she who remembers 
Horus') Ancient Egyptian cow-goddess, 
queen of herds and foster-mother of 
the infant — » Horus. She was particularly 
venerated in the third nome of Lower 

Securitas The personification of secu- 
rity, revered by the Romans as the god- 
dess in whose hands the permanence of 
the Empire rested. 

Semnocosus 169 

Sed A popular god in ancient Egypt. 
The name means 'saviour' and identifies 
the god, who often figured on amulets, as 
one to whom men could turn in their hour 
of need. Above all, he was supposed to 
offer protection against wild animals. 



Sedim In the Old Testament, devils or 
demons to whom the apostate Israelites 
made sacrifice (Deuteronomy 32: 17; 
Psalm 106: 36). In some translations of 
the Bible they appear as goblins. They 
are probably connected with the 
Mesopotamian — > Sedu. In rabbinic liter- 
ature, the word sed denoted a dangerous 
type of demon with magical powers. 

Sedna Sea-goddess of the Eskimos in 
Baffin Land. In east Greenland, she is 
known as 'mother of the sea' (Immap 
ukua), while the polar Eskimos refer to 
her as Nerrivik, i.e. 'the eating-place', 
a very apt description of the sea as a 
source of nourishment. Sedna is queen of 
the sea-creatures. 

Sedu In the days of the Babylonian 
Empire, a kindly and helpful demon. In the 
late Assyrian period, Sedu and the female 
Lamassu (—> Lama) were winged bull- 
beings who protected the palace entrances. 

Se'irim (Sahirim) The Se'irim are 
mentioned in the Old Testament as 
demons in the shape of goats. The name is 
derived from the word sa'ir = hairy. In 
Leviticus 17: 7 the children of Israel are 
forbidden to make sacrifice to the Se'irim 

Selardi The moon-god of the Urartian 
contemporaries of the Assyrians, who 
lived in what is now Armenia. 

Selene (from Greek selas = light, radi- 
ance) Greek goddess of the moon, the 
daughter of the Titan — > Hyperion and 

sister of the sun-god — ¥ Helios. She drives 
in a chariot drawn by two horses or rides 
on a mule. The goddess, who was also 
called Mene = moon, was regarded as 
tutelary deity of magicians and sorcerers. 
In the Hellenistic period she fused with 
— > Artemis or — > Hekate; the Romans 
equated her with — > Luna. 

Selket The name of this old Egyptian 
goddess is really Serket-hetu which 
means 'she who lets throats breathe'. She 
is the tutelary goddess of the dead, and 
uses her magic spells to help the sun-god 
against his enemies. Her symbolical ani- 
mal, which she wears on her head, is the 
scorpion. The Greeks called her Selkis. 

Selvans An Etruscan god: the similar- 
ity in name has led scholars to compare 
him with the Roman god of field and 
forest — ¥ Silvanus. 

Semele In origin, Semele was proba- 
bly a Thracian-Phrygian earth-goddess. In 
Greek myth she appears as the daughter 
of the Theban king Kadmos. When — > 
Zeus, who was wooing her, revealed him- 
self to her in all his divine majesty, she 
was burnt by the lightning emanating 
from him. Zeus rescued the unborn child 
by sewing the embryo into his thigh, and 
in due course — > Dionysos was born. 
Later, Dionysos descended to the under- 
world and led his mother back to 
Olympus where she took her place among 
the immortals under the name of Thyone. 

Semnai Theai ('exalted goddesses') 
In origin, typical earth-goddesses of fer- 
tility who were worshipped in a cave on 
the Aeropagos. Later, they were identified 
with the — > Erinyes. 

Semnocosus A war-god worshipped 
in northern Hispania, whose cult became 
popular among Roman troops. Prisoners, 
horses and goats were sacrificed to him. 

170 Senmurw 


A mythical winged monster in ancient 
Iran. In one tradition it is described as a 
bat combining the natures of dog, bird and 
musk-ox. In Sassanid art it is represented 
as a sort of peacock dragon with a dog's 
head. Fancies relating to Senmurw were 
later transferred to the modern Iranian 
wonder-bird, the simurgh: it is supposed 
to be so old that it has seen the destruction 
of the world three times already. 

Sentait An ancient Egyptian goddess 
in the form of a cow. She was taken into 
the circle of deities concerned with the 
protection of the dead; as an exemplar of 
maternal fertility she merges in the late 
period into the figure of —> Isis. 

Sepa (Sep) The Old Egyptian word 
means 'centipede'. It is the name of a god 
who was invoked in charms and spells 
against dangerous animals and enemies of 
the gods. As a chthonic being, he was iden- 
tified with — > Osiris, the god of the dead. 

Sequana A Gallic goddess of the river 
Seine and the tribe of the Sequanae. The 
duck is sacred to her. 

double wings, seen by Isaiah in the vision 
which launched him on his career as 
a prophet (Isaiah 6: 2). In the divine hier- 
archy of Dionysius the Areopagite they 
form the highest of the nine angelic 
choirs: the — > Cherubim are ranked below 
them. The seraph was an oft-recurring 
motif in romanesque art. 

Serapis (Sarapis) The Greek form of 
Osiris-Apis: i.e. the bull-god — ¥ Apis as 
raised to fusion with — » Osiris. This is the 
designation given to a god first intro- 
duced into the Egyptian pantheon by 
King Ptolemaios I who came from 
Macedonia. As lord of generative fecun- 
dity he bears a kalathos (a basket-shaped 
head-dress) entwined with ears of corn. 
Otherwise, he has the status of a universal 
god, uniting in his person traits of — > 
Zeus and — > Hades. From his temple 
(Serapeum) in Alexandria, his cult spread 
to every corner of the Roman Empire. 

Seri and Hurri Divine bulls and com- 
panions of the old Anatolian weather-god 
(— > Iskur, — > Tesub). The names mean 
'day' and 'night'. Both names figure in 
lists of gods to be invoked when making 
a vow or taking an oath. 

Sesa An Indian snake-demon, who 
bears the earth or enfolds it. He is the 
king of the Nagas; under the name of 
Ananta he is the symbol of eternity, and 
ranged under — > Visnu. 

Sesat Ancient Egyptian goddess of 
writing. She is 'she who presides over the 
house of records' and 'queen of builders'. 
Her most important function is recording 
the Pharaonic years of rule and jubilees. 
She is regarded as the sister or daughter 
of -> Thot. 

Seraphim (Serafim, Hebrew saraph = to Sesmu (Sesemu, Sezemu) Ancient 
burn; then, fiery 'snake') In the Old Egyptian god of oil and wine pressing. To 
Testament, spirits with three pairs of the dead he proffers wine as a sustaining 

Shosshu 171 

draught; as for sinners, he tears their heads 
off and presses them in his wine-press. 

Seth (Setech, Sutech) The shady god 
in the ancient Egyptian pantheon. As lord 
of the desert he is the adversary of — ¥ 
Osiris, the god of vegetation, and the 
fight between the two brothers reflects the 
permanent struggle between these two 
aspects of nature. As Seth murders his 
brother, he came later to be regarded as 
the embodiment of evil, and the Greeks 
equated him with — ¥ Typhon; and it is sig- 
nificant that Seth was also regarded as the 
god of non-Egyptian lands. The horse, the 
antelope, the pig, the hippopotamus and 
the crocodile were regarded as sacred to 
Seth. Seth had a positive aspect as well, 
appearing as the Upper Egyptian partner 
of the Lower Egyptian tutelary god — ¥ 
Horus. Standing on the bows of the sun- 
barque, Seth fights off the — ¥ Apophis- 

Sethlans Etruscan god of fire and 
blacksmiths, in iconography equated with 
the Greek — ¥ Hephaistos. 

Shang-di (also known simply as Di) 
The supreme god in ancient China. He 
rules over heaven in the same way as the 
dynastic ruler is supreme on earth. 
Because he exercises control over such 
natural forces as thunder and lightning, 
wind and rain, he is also regarded as the 
god of agriculture. 

Sheila-na-gig A female demon known 
in the British Isles from early Celtic times 
onwards. She displays her pudenda in an 
apotropaic gesture, thus providing a par- 
allel to the Baubo of antiquity. During the 
Middle Ages, Sheila-na-gig was repre- 
sented on the walls of various churches in 
England as a way of warding off evil. 

gShen-Lha-od-dkar A Tibetan deity 
in the ancient, pre-Lamaist Bon religion. 

He is 'god of the white light' from whom 
all other gods have emanated. Lamaism 
took him over as god of wisdom. 

Shen-nong Chinese culture-hero, 
known as the 'divine husbandman'. He 
has the head of an ox, and it is he whom 
mankind has to thank for agriculture and 
the knowledge of healing and curative 
herbs. As god of the hot winds, however, 
he can also be harmful to peasants. His 
wife is the goddess of silk-worm culture. 

gShen-rab The founder of the Bon 

religion. In art he is represented as a super- 
natural being remote from the world, 
seated on a lotus: in his right hand he holds 
the swastika sceptre. 

Shen Yi Chinese sun-god, known as 
the 'divine archer'. Once upon a time, it is 
said, there were ten suns in heaven whose 
heat threatened all life on earth. Shen Yi 
shot down nine of them and became the 
lord of the remaining one. In terms of 
Chinese yin-yang symbolism (the polarity 
between the male and female principles) 
Shen Yi incorporates male yang, while his 
wife — ¥ Heng E represents female yin. 

Shichi-fukujin The Japanese deities of 
good fortune, usually shown as seven in 
number: —¥ Benten, —¥ Hotei the friend of 
children, — ¥ Jurojin, — ¥ Fukurokuju, 
Bishamon (missionary zeal), Daikoku 
(riches), and Ebisu the patron of fisher- 
men. They are sometimes portrayed all 
together in a treasure-ship. 



Shi-tenno The name applied to the 
four Shintoist gods who guard the heav- 
enly quarters. One of these 'kings of 
heaven' is — ¥ Zocho. Their Indian counter- 
parts are the — ¥ Lokapalas. 

Shosshu The god of blacksmiths and 
metal-workers among the Abkhaz people 

172 ShouLao 

who live in the Caucasus. Oaths were 
sworn and pledges made over the anvil 
which represented the god. 

Shou Lao (Shou Xing Lao Tou-zi) In 
China, the 'god of long life', also called 
Nan-ji Xian-weng, 'the ancient of the 
South Pole'. Originally a stellar deity, he 
became the president of that department 
of heavenly administration which fixes 
our life-span. His sacred creature is the 
white crane, a symbol of longevity. He is 
often shown holding a peach in his hand. 

Shurdi A god of thunderstorms whose 
antecedents go back to the ancient 
Illyrians who once lived in the area of 
present-day Albania. The name is inter- 
preted as meaning 'the deaf one' and may 
be connected with the name of the 
Thracian thunder-god Zibelthiurdos. 


A moon-god heading the pantheon wor- 
shipped in the ancient Chimu Empire of 
Peru. On vases, he is shown in the sickle- 
moon with a crown of feathers joined to 
an armoured backplate (see illustration). 



Sif The wife of the Germanic god — > 
Thor. It has been suggested that her 
golden hair is a poetic image for waving 
fields of corn. However speculative this 
is, it does seem very probable that Sif 
played the part of a goddess of vegetation. 

Sigyn The wife of the Germanic god 
— > Loki. For his share in the murder of — > 

Balder, Loki is punished by having a 
poisonous snake suspended over his 
head - but his faithful wife collects the 
venom in a bowl as it drips down. 



Sila (or Silma inua) The divine ruler of 
the universe in the belief of the Eskimos: 
some tribes imagine him as an airy spirit, 
others think of him as the god who rules 
the souls of man and beast and whom the 
shamans invoke. 

Silene Two-legged half-human horse- 
like beings in Greek mythology. Silenos 
(in the singular) is the ringleader of the — > 
Satyrs, and also appears as the tutor of the 
young — ¥ Dionysos: he is portrayed as 
bald-headed and pot-bellied. —¥ Marsyas 
also belonged to the Silene. 

Silewe Nazarata A goddess revered 
on the island of Nias (Indonesia). She 
represents life in all of its forms. She is 
regarded as helpful to mankind, neverthe- 
less she bears the epithet 'she who is 
feared'. The moon is often said to be her 
dwelling-place; otherwise, she sits with 
her husband — > Lowalangi in the loftiest 
sphere of heaven. 

Silvanus Roman god of fields and 
woods. He was portrayed as a peasant, 
either naked or clad in a tunic tucked up 
round his legs; in his long hair he wears 
a wreath of pine twigs, and he has a goat- 
skin over his shoulders. Silvanus had no 
official cult, but he was very popular 
among the common people. It is possible 
that he can be traced back to the Etruscan 
— > Selvans, whose name would be under- 
stood, by popular etymology, as meaning 
'he who lives in the woods (silva)'. 

Simigi A sun-god of the Hurrians in 
ancient Anatolia. In significance and 
mode of appearance he coincides with the 
Hittite — ¥ Istanu. 

Siva 1 73 



Sin (1) (older form Suen; Old Assyrian, 
Suin) Babylonian moon-god. His sym- 
bol is the sickle-moon which can be con- 
strued as a boat, and the god himself was 
called 'shining boat of heaven'. But the 
moon-god was also thought of as a bull, 
whose horns are formed by the sickle of 
the moon. Sin was revered as an ancient 
and wise god, as lord of destiny and - like 
the sun-god — > Samas - as judge of 
heaven and earth. The number associated 
with him was 30. 

Sin (2) A god of the moon and of 
riches revered in pre-Islamic times in 
Hadramaut (south Arabia). 

Singbonga The chief god of the 

Mundas, who speak an Austro-Asiatic lan- 
guage and live in eastern India. The word 
sing may mean 'sun', and bonga originally 
meant 'spirit' or 'higher being'. In the Ho 
tribe, the god is called Sirma Thakur = 
Lord of Heaven. White goats and white 
cocks are sacrificed to Singbonga. 

Sipe Gyalmo In the Bon religion of 
Tibet, a goddess who is 'queen of the 
world'. In art, she is represented as having 
a head with three eyes, and six arms in 
which she holds the following attributes: 
banner of victory, sword, royal sunshade, 
swastika, skull-bowl and trident. She 
rides on a red mule. 

Sirao An ancient tradition among the 
islanders on Nias (in Indonesia) tells us 
that Sirao was the first of the gods, who 
created the earth, and then the first exis- 
tent being, named Sihai. The world tree 
sprouted from Sihai's heart (according to 
another version of the myth, from that of 
his son); from his right eye came the sun, 
and from his left eye the moon. Among 
other names, that of — > Lowalangi is 
mentioned as the son of Sirao. 

Sirens (Greek seirenes) Divine hybrid 
creatures, half-bird, half-maiden, gifted 
with the power of bewitching song. They 
dwell in Hades or in the heavenly fields; 
but, as the daughters of — ¥ Phorkys they 
may live on an island, beguile passing 
mariners with their song and then suck 
their blood. In this, they are close to the 
old demons of death like the — > Harpies; 
and they were often represented on funer- 
ary monuments as symbolic figures of 

Sirona A Celtic goddess revered in the 
Mosel Valley and often connected with 
the Gallic-Roman Apollon. As to her 
function, there are conflicting theories - 
she may have been a goddess of springs 
and wells, or possibly a stellar goddess. 

Sita An incarnation of the Indian god- 
dess — ¥ Laksmi. By her own wish she was 
born from a freshly ploughed field - 
hence her name, which means 'furrow'. 
She became the wife of — > Rama. 
Abducted by the king of the — > Raksas 
{—¥ Ravana) she was, after her release, 
suspected of adultery, whereupon she 
returned to her mother earth. 

Sitala ('the cool one') Bengali goddess 
of smallpox, depicted as an ugly woman 
with a switch, riding on an ass. In south 
India she is revered under the name of 

Sius A sky-god and sun-god of the 
Hittites who invaded Asia Minor. 
Subsequently, he had to relinquish his 
solar aspect to other deities (—¥ Istanu, the 
sun-goddess of Arinna). 

Siva ('the friendly one', 'gracious one') 
This deity can be traced back to the Indus 
Valley cultures which preceded the Aryans 
in north India. Very early on, Siva began to 
take on characteristics of the Vedic — ¥ 
Rudra, forming a triad (—> Trimurti) 

174 Siwini 

together with — > Brahma and — > Visnu. In 
his dark and destructive aspect he is Ugra 
('the violent one'), Mahakala ('death') and 
— > Bhairava; and in this aspect he is por- 
trayed as either naked or clad in a skin, 
smeared with ashes and adorned with 
a wreath of skulls. In his benign aspect he 
appears as Mahayogin ('the great yogi') 
and as Nataraja ('King of the dance'). As 
Ardhanarisvara he combines in himself 
male and female characteristics. Among 
his attributes are the sickle moon and the 
trident (trikuld) and a third eye. In south 
Indian art he is shown with an axe and a 
gazelle in his hands. Siva is the great god 
of generation, revered under the symbol of 
the linga(m), and in this connection the 
bull —> Nandin on which he rides should 
also be mentioned. His wife is — > Durga; 
in the epics, — > ParvatI also appears in this 
role. His devotees see Siva as the supreme 
being, the embodiment of cosmic power in 
all of its aspects, destructive as well as cre- 
ative. In Ceylon, he is known as — > Isvara. 
For his relationship with Visnu see — > 

Siwini The Urartian sun-god; known 
as — > Simigi among the Hurrians. 

Skacli In Germanic myth, the daughter 
of the giant — ¥ Thiassi and wife of the god 
— > Njord. Njord and Skadi fall out with 
each other as to where they should live: 
Njord would like to live by the sea, but 
Skadi prefers the mountains. Later, 
according to Ynglingasaga, Skadi entered 
into a new marriage with — > Odin. Any 
connection between the name Skadi and 
the word Scandinavia is hypothetical. 

Skan The sky-god of the Sioux 
Indians. He was revered as the source of 
all power and strength and as the creator 
of the world, which he has ordered 
modulo 4. Skan is judge over the gods and 
over the souls of men. 

Skanda Indian god of war, the son of 
— > Siva: another version of the myth makes 
him the progeny of the seed of — > Agni, 
cast into the sacrificial fire. Reared by the 
six-starred constellation of the Pleiades 
(Kirttikah) he was given the name 
Karttikeya. As a handsome young man he 
is also known as Kumara ('youth'). He 
rides on the peacock Paravani, has six 
heads and twelve arms, and carries spear, 
bow and arrows. In south India, Skanda 
is worshipped under the name of 
Subrahmanya ('favourable to Brahmins'). 



Skylla (Greek = bitch; Latin Scylla) In 
the Odyssey, a monster lurking by certain 
straits which devoured passing seamen; it 
was imagined as having twelve feet and 
six heads which were canine or lupine. 
Later, Skylla, and Charybdis lying oppo- 
site it, were identified as the whirlpool, 
dangerous to shipping, lying in the Straits 
of Messina. 

Smertrios War-like deity of the Gauls, 
especially of the Treveres. On a relief 

Spenta Mainyu 1 75 

discovered in Paris he is portrayed as a 
bearded athlete, using a club to dispatch 
a snake. 

So The name given to their god of 
thunder by the Ewe people who live in 
Togo and Ghana. He is in fact a mixta 
persona - the male Sogbla and the female 
Sodza, both of whom are manifest to us in 
a thunderstorm. Sogbla dwells in heaven 
and is surrounded by flames; he is revered 
above all by hunters, and feared by evil- 
doers. Sodza is the donor of rain and fer- 
tility. Ewe people are forbidden to drink 
rain-water, as this is water of So. 

Sokar (Seker, Sokaris) A falcon-god 
of the dead revered in the area of 
Memphis in ancient Egypt. As lord of the 
necropolis he became patron of the crafts- 
men working there, and was equated with 
— > Ptah; later, also with the god of the 
dead — > Osiris. 

Sol (1) Roman sun-god, corresponding 
to the Greek — > Helios. His temple stood 
on the Quirinal, and as patron of the char- 
iot teams he had a second temple in the 
Circus Maximus. During the Empire 
period, the designation Sol invictus was 
transferred to various oriental sungods, 
e.g. to the Syrian — > Elagabal. Under the 
Emperor of the same name, Elagabal 
became the supreme tutelary god of Rome. 

Sol (2) (Old Icelandic sol = sun) The 
daughter of Mundilferi, sister of — > Mani. 
Her car is drawn by two horses called 
Arvakr ('he who is early awake') and 
Alsvidr ('swiftest of all') across the sky. 
The personification of the sun is also 
found in the second Merseburg spell, 
under the name of Sunna. 

Soma In ancient India, the intoxicating 
drink made from the soma plant, which 
played a crucial role in the Vedic sacrifi- 
cial rites and which was personified as 

a deity. Soma was regarded as the vital sap 
in all living beings, and its ritual extrac- 
tion was a symbol of cosmic processes. 
The gods drink soma from the bowl of the 
moon, and soma confers immortality 
(amrita). In the post- Vedic age, Soma is 
a customary name for the moon-god. 

Somtus (better known as Harsomtus = 
'uniter of the two lands') A god revered 
in the ancient Egyptian city of Dendera: 
creator and child of the sun. Late temple 
pictures show him as a snake or a lotus 

Sopdu Ancient Egyptian god of the 
frontier and of the east, revered originally 
in the twentieth nome of lower Egypt, 
then later in the Sinai Peninsula. 

Sothis The Greek name of the ancient 
Egyptian goddess Sopdet, the incorpora- 
tion of the Dog Star, Sirius. As the helia- 
cal rising of Sirius once coincided with 
the onset of the Nile flood, it was believed 
that the goddess herself was to be thanked 
for the life-giving waters and the fertility 
they engendered. Later, Sothis merged 
into the figure of — > Isis, who, as Sirius, 
follows — > Osiris, embodied in Orion. 

Spandaramet Armenian earth- 

goddess, whose name comes from the 
Iranian spenta Armaiti. She is the goddess 
of 'those who are asleep', i.e. the dead. 
With the coming of Christianity, the word 
Spandaramet took on the meaning of hell. 

Spenta Mainyu (Spenak Menoi) In 
Old Iranian myth, the constant adversary 
of Angru Mainyu (— > Ahriman). Where 
Spenta Mainyu creates life, Angru 
Mainyu is responsible for death. 
Throughout the whole of world history 
the two remain active as good and evil 
principles. In Pahlavi literature, the figure 
of Spenak Menoi merges into the figure 
of Ormazd (— ¥ Ahura Mazda). 

1 76 Spes 

Spes Roman goddess, the personifica- 
tion of hope, not excluding the plant 
world. This made her a goddess of gar- 
dens, who had her temple in the vegetable 
market, and who was represented as a girl 
bearing flowers or grain. 


The (male) Sphinx of Gizeh was wor- 
shipped as — > Harmachis. Later, the form 
of the Sphinx was attributed to the king of 
the gods, the sun-god — » Amun-Re. In 
Greece, the (female) sphinx - originally 
phix, which became sphinx = the stran- 
gle^ by popular etymology - is to be 
interpreted as a kind of demon of death. 
She is the daughter of — » Typhon and of 
— > Echidna. To every passer-by she gives 
a riddle - and swallows those who cannot 
solve it. 

Sraosa (Modern Persian Sros) In Old 
Iranian religion, a figure belonging to or 
close to — > the Amesa Spentas: a personi- 
fication of the 'ear' of — > Ahura Mazda, 
through which the faithful have access 
to the god. After sunset, he guards cre- 
ation from the demonic powers. Through 

cock-crow he calls men to their religious 
duty. In Manichaeanism the name is 
transferred to a cosmic luminosity with 
eschatological function. 

Srat A domestic demon of the West 
Slavs which can fly and which appears as 
a fiery figure. The name is Germanic (cf. 
Old High German scrato = forest spirit). 

Sri Demonic beings in the old Bon reli- 
gion of Tibet. They dwell below the 
ground, chase little children and behave 
as vampires in places where corpses are 
laid out. 

Sridevi One of the terrifying god- 
desses of Lamaism, whose Tibetan name 
is dPal-ldan Lhamo. She exercises a spe- 
cial tutelary function for the Dalai Lama, 
but she also plays a part in the judgment 
of the dead, and keeps a record of our 
sins. She is portrayed as mounted on 
a mule; she has an eye in her forehead, 
and in her left hand she carries a bowl 
made from a skull. 

Stihi A female demon in south 
Albanian popular belief. As a fearsome 
dragon breathing fire it guards a treasure. 

Stribog East Slavonic god mentioned 
in the Nestor Chronicle and elsewhere. 
The phrase 'Stribog's grandchildren' 
referred to the winds, and the god himself 
has accordingly been seen as ruler of the 

Strigae (sing, striga = she who 
screeches) In Roman popular belief 
bird-like demons who stole children. 
Sometimes they were said to be old 
women who had turned into birds. 

Styx (from Greek stygein = to hate) 
The name of the river in the Greek under- 
world, and of its tutelary goddess. Hesiod 
says that she is the most powerful of the 
daughters of — > Okeanos and of — > 

Summamus 177 

Tethys. The gods swore their most solemn 
oaths by the water of the Styx (the river 
itself is masculine in Greek). Among the 
children of the goddess were — > Bia and 
— > Nike. 

Su (Greek transcription Sos) In ancient 
Egyptian myth, Su came forth as breath 
from the nose of the primeval god — > 
Atum. His name means 'emptiness' and 
identifies him as a god of the space 
between heaven and earth, which he is 
said to have separated, the one from the 
other. Together with his sister — > Tefnut 
(moisture), Su (air) incorporates the 
forces which are necessary for life. The 
identification of Atum with the sun-god 
— > Re makes Su the 'son of Re' and he is 
then entitled to be represented wearing 
the lion's head. 

Suaixtix A designation of the sun and 
the name of the sun-god of the ancient 
Prussians (Pruzzen). A connection has 
been suggested with the word svaistikas 
('he who shines around'). 

Succubus (from Latin succumbere = to 
lie under) A female demon who besets 
a man sexually during sleep. In other 
words, the succubus is a kind of — > Alp. 
Women on trial as witches were often 
accused of being the devil's succubus or 

Sucellos (Celtic = he who strikes well 
home) A Gallic god with markedly 
syncretic traits. His chief attribute is a 
hammer, and Celtic philologists refer to 
him therefore as the 'hammer-god'. His 
rather more haphazard attributes are 
a club and a purse, reminiscent of figures 
like — > Herakles and — > Mercurius. Often 
he holds in his hand a vase or a drinking- 
bowl (olio), which may be symbols of 
plenty and which may identify him as 
a god of fertility. He has also been inter- 
preted as a god of the dead, and evidence 

for this theory is provided by the dog 
allotted to him on an altar. 

Suchos This is the Greek reading of 
the name of the old Egyptian crocodile- 
god: in script SBK, vocalized as Sobek. 
The main centres of his cult were 
Krokodilopolis in Fayum and Kom Ombo 
in Upper Egypt. In the myth he appears as 
the son of — > Neith. Representations 
showing crocodiles with falcon heads and 
the double crown are based on an approx- 
imation of this god to — > Horus. Further 
identification with — > Re led to the solar 
disc being added to the crocodile's head. 
The Greeks depicted Suchos as a radiant 
— > Helios, and gave him a crocodile in 
one hand as an attribute. 

Sugaar A male snake-like spirit of the 
Basques: it lives under the ground but can 
also traverse the heavens like a fiery 
sickle. In one district he is regarded as the 
spirit — > Maju, in another as the devil. 

Sul A Celtic goddess worshipped in 
Bath (in southern England). Eternal fire 
burned in her temple; her name means 
'sun'. During the Roman occupation she 
was identified with Minerva. 

Sulmanu The Assyrian god of war and 
of the underworld. 

Sulpa'e An old Mesopotamian god 
whose Sumerian name means 'youth who 
appears in radiance'. He may appear as 
the husband of the mother-goddess — > 
Ninhursanga. He was regarded as the 
representative of the planet Jupiter. 

Sumbharaja One of the Buddhist — > 
Krodhadevatas, and guardian of the man- 
dalas. He has three eyes and six arms, and 
in his crown he bears the image of — > 

Summamus An Etruscan god who 
hurls down lightning by night. He 
received his own temple in Rome and the 

178 SunHou-zi 

fratres Arvales sacrificed black wethers 
to him. 

Sun Hou-zi A divine ape in Chinese 
mythology, also known as Sun Wu-kong, 
i.e. 'he who awakens to nothingness 
(Nirvana)'. He was born from an egg fer- 
tilized by the wind. Skilled in various 
magic arts and crafts, he was finally able - 
against the will of the gods - to eat of the 
peaches of immortality and the pills of 
eternal life. 

Suparsva The seventh — > Tlrtharhkara 
in Jainism. Its characteristic emblem is the 
swastika symbolizing the four planes of 
existence - the world of the gods, the world 
of men, the world of animals and hell. 

Surt(r) In Germanic mythology, an 
opponent of the gods at the time of the 
destruction of the world. He rules over 
Muspelheim and possesses a glowing-hot 
sword with which he will set fire to the 
world at the end of time. In the last battle 
he slays — > Freyr. 

Surya Indian sun-god and guardian of 
the south-west quadrant. His father is the 
sky-god — ¥ Dyaus or — > Indra; one myth 
tells how he arose from the eye of the 
world-giant — > Purusa. Stirya has golden 

hair and golden arms. He drives in a 
chariot drawn by a team of four or seven 
horses; in his hand he holds a lotus flower, 
often a discus (cakra) as well. The daughter 
of the sun-god is also called Surya. 

Susanowo (Susanoo) Japanese god of 
the winds and lord of the ocean. It is said 
that he arose from the nose of — > Izanagi. 
In his capacity as god of thunder he is 
associated with snakes and dragons. 

Svantevit (Latinized form Svantovitus) 
A war-god revered by the Slavonic inhab- 
itants of the island of Riigen. He was also 
a protector of their fields, and the harvest 
festival was dedicated to him. The early 
Danish historian Saxo Grammaticus 
relates that his main attributes were a 
cornucopia and a white horse. 

Svarog (Svarozic) Slavonic fire- and 
sun-god, equated by Greek-Christian 
writers with — > Hephaistos. The divine 
smith was also regarded as the founder of 
the institution of marriage. Originally, 
Svarog was at the summit of the Slavonic 
pantheon, but he ended up as a sort of 
fire-spirit. In Russia, his place was taken 
by — > Perun. 




Tabiti Goddess of fire and queen of 
animals of the Scythians who once lived 
in south Russia. She was the 'great god- 
dess' represented as winged and sur- 
rounded by animals. The Romans took 
her to be identical with — > Vesta. 


In Etruscan tradition, a youth who had the 
wisdom of age: it is said that he suddenly 
emerged from a furrow one day when a 
field was being ploughed, and proceeded 
to expound the practice of haruspicina - 
prognostication by the inspection of 
entrails. Tages, the child of earth, begot- 
ten by a — > Genius, is represented on 
bronze mirrors with two snakes forming 
his lower limbs. 

Tailtiu An Irish goddess, embodying 
tellurian and natural forces. In Irish myth, 
she figures as the nurse of — > Lug. At her 
request, a festival is instituted for her after 
her death - the Lugnasad, i.e. 'the 
espousal of the god Lug'. It has been 

suggested that this festival represents a 
hieros gamos between the god of light and 
the earth goddess (Tailtiu). 

Tai-sui-xing 'The star of the great 
year' - that is to say Jupiter which takes 
12 years to complete its orbit, and which 
is regarded as the god of time in China. 

Tai-yi ('the Great Monad') Taoist sky- 
god, who dwells in the 'purple palace', 
the constellation of Zi-gong. He was that 
being who was already perfected before 
the creation. During the Song Dynasty 
(960-1279) Tai-yi was revered as the 
highest of nine or ten stellar gods, and he 
was given the name of Jiu-gong Tai-yi: 
i.e. 'Tai-yi of the nine palaces'. 

Takamimusubi ('high and sublime 
begetter') In Japan, the progenitor god 
of the royal family. As a sky-god he rules 
the world together with the sun-goddess 
(— ¥ Amaterasu). It is said that his grand- 
child Ninigi descended from heaven and 
founded the dynasty of the Tenno. 

Ta'lab Sabaean (ancient south Arabian) 
god. The name is taken to mean 'ibex', and 
the god himself is seen as a moon-god. In 
addition, he was also a kind of oracle. 

Tane (in Hawaii Kane) Polynesian god 
of the forest, and patron of craftsmen, 
especially boat-builders. He is the god of 
light, and on Tahiti he is revered as the 
god of all that is beautiful. People turn to 
him when they are in trouble. The name 
'Tane' means 'man'. The Maoris say that 
'Tane's way' leads westwards - that is to 
say, it follows the path of the sun. His 
entrance into the underworld (his night 
voyage) is described in the myth in terms 
of his relationship to — > Hine-nui-te-po. 

1 80 Tang 


In Chinese mythology, the heavenly swal- 
low in its function as Messiah and 
redeemer. In order to help mankind, it 
sacrificed its own body in the mulberry- 
tree copse. Tang's most signal achieve- 
ment is his victory over the prince of hell. 

Tangaroa (Tangaloa) Polynesian sea- 
god, and creator of all things. In the 
Marquesas Islands he appears as god of 
the winds and of fishing, under the name 
of Tana'oa. At the same time, it is related 
of him that he dwelt in heaven at the 
beginning of time, and that he ruled over 
the night until — > Atea was born from 
him. According to Tahitian tradition, the 
god resided in a dark mussel-shell, from 
which he finally fashioned heaven and 
earth. Tangaloa's messenger is the bird 

Ta Pedn The god of the Semang negri- 
tos in Malaysia: the name can be trans- 
lated as 'old man Pedn' or 'grandpa 
Pedn'. He is enthroned on a many- 
coloured mat in the heavens, with his wife 

sitting beside him. The god loves his 
grandchildren, the human race. 

Tapio East Finnish forest spirit or god, 
often invoked in hunters' prayers. With 
the coming of Christianity he turned into 
a patron saint of hunting: he is supposed 
to have a daughter - St Anna (Anniki). 

Tara (less frequently Tarini) The most 
important Buddhist goddess; her name 
means both 'she who delivers' and 'star'. 
The legend goes that she was born from 
a tear shed by — ¥ Avalokitesvara. The ear- 
liest representations of the goddess date 
from the sixth century AD. Tara incorpo- 
rates the very concept of female divinity, 
and her name can therefore be added as a 
generic term to the names of other god- 
desses: indeed other goddesses often 
appear as specialized forms of Tara. 
Altogether, 21 forms of Tara are distin- 
guished, divided into the white forms 
(in these her left hand usually holds 
a lotus) and the coloured forms (blue, 
yellow, red). 

Taranis (Celtic taran — thunder) 
Gallic thunder-god and lord of heaven, 
equated by the Romans with — > Jupiter. 
It is possible that he is the god shown 
in Gallic art as bearing a wheel, which 
is taken to be a symbol of thunder or 
of the sun. The Gallic hammer-god has 
also been connected with Taranis, but he 
usually has a lightning flash in his hand. 

Tarhunt An ancient Anatolian 
(Hurrian) weather-god. The name means 
'mighty one, victor'; he corresponds to 
the Hittite -> Iskur. 

Taru Ancient Anatolian (Hattic) 
weather-god; his Luvian name is — > 
Tarhunt. His son is the vegetation-god — > 

Tasmetu Ancient Mesopotamian god- 
dess, who in her function as 'she who 

Teljavelik 181 

hears prayer' personifies divine accessi- 
bility; she is the spouse of — > Nabu. 

Tasmisu Ancient Anatolian god, who 
figures repeatedly in myth as the brother 
and helper of the weather-god — > Tesub. 

Tate The wind-god of the Sioux 
Indians. He orders the seasons, and 
allows only those souls to take the path 
of the spirits, whom — ¥ Skan regards as 

Tatenen (Tenen, Ten) The name of this 
ancient Egyptian god means 'the raised 
land' - a reference to the primeval hill, the 
earth as it rose in the beginning from the 
primeval waters. Tatenen is primeval god 
and god of the earth; in Memphis he was 
coupled with — ¥ Ptah, under the name of 
Ptah- Tenen. He is represented in human 
shape with the horns of a ram and a crown 
of feathers. 

Tawa Among the Pueblo Indians of 
North America, the great sun-spirit, who 
has created men. 

Tawiskaron ('fire-stone') An evil spirit 
in the mythology of the Mohawk, Huron 
and Onondaga Indians in North America. 
He steals the sun, creates monsters with 
human faces, lets a toad drink up the fresh 
water which humans need, and wreaks 
havoc among the good works of his 
creator-brother — > Teharonhiawagon. In 
ritual, Tawiskaron figures as the great 
magician to whom the nocturnal cere- 
monies are dedicated, and who was cred- 
ited with being able to ward off illnesses. 

Tecciztecatl ('he who comes from the 
land of the sea-slug shell') Aztec moon- 
god, so-called because of the similarity 
between the moon and the slug. 

Tefnut (Greek form Tphenis) Old 
Egyptian goddess who emerged from — > 
Atum along with the god of the air — > Su. 

She represented humidity, but came to be 
regarded subsequently as incorporating 
world order. At an early date, Su and 
Tefnut were identified with the pair of 
lions — > Ruti, revered in Leontopolis, and 
were accordingly portrayed theriomor- 
phically. In Egyptian myth, this god- 
dess may represent either the lunar or the 
solar eye: and as the latter can also appear 
as the uraeus snake, Tefnut may figure 
as the 'snake on the forehead of all 
the gods'. 

Teharonhiawagon The good god 
revered by the Mohawk and the 
Onondaga Indians. The name means 'he 
who holds the heavens in his two hands'. 
Another name for him is Oterongtongnia, 
which means 'little tree'. He has created 
all good things, and gives health and pros- 
perity. Morning and day are his province, 
while evening and night form that of his 
adversary — > Tawiskaron. 

Teisiphone — > Erinyes 

Telchines Demon workers in metal, 
gifted with the evil eye and skilled in 
magic, in the mythology of the Greek 
islanders (especially on Rhodes). In 
many respects they resemble the —> 
Kabiroi. The Telchines often appear as 
diminutive mermen; it was to them that 
the young Poseidon was handed over for 
his bringing up. 

Telipinu (Telipuna) Ancient Anatolian 
god of vegetation, the son of the weather- 
god — > Taru. He brings rain, and has, like 
his father, control over thunder and light- 
ning. He causes plants to grow, and confers 
fertility upon man and animals. Sometimes 
in anger or in pique he quits the assembly 
of the gods, and then all life on heaven and 
earth comes to a standstill. The pinu com- 
ponent in his name means 'son' or 'child'. 

Teljavelik The heavenly smith in 
Lithuanian mythology. He it is who 

182 Tellus 

created the sun (- 
the heavens. 

Saule) and placed it in 

Tellus (Latin = earth) Roman goddess 
of the earth and the cornfields. In her 
aspect as a fertility goddess, she is related 
to — ¥ Ceres. Tellus was sometimes given 
another Latin name which also means 
'earth' - Terra. 

Tenenit A goddess of beer mentioned 
in the Egyptian Book of the Dead and in 
some texts dating from the Ptolemaic 

Tengri Among the Turkish tribes and 
the Mongols, a designation for certain 
heavenly beings. The Buriats call their 
sky-god Esege Malan Tengri - 'Father 
Bald-head Tengri'. The supreme sky-god 
of the Mongols is called — > Qormusta 
Tengri. His Yakut counterpart is Tangara, 
whose epithet is uriin ajy tojon = wise 
lord creator. 

Ten-gu (Tengu) Mountain and forest 
goblins in Japanese folklore; they have 
long noses or beaks, and figure as bogey- 
men. They dwell in hollow trees, and are 
said to be the progeny of the storm-god — ¥ 

Tepeyollotli This earth and cave god 
was originally native to the Indians in the 
Central American isthmus. He was the 
'heart of the mountain' and the source of 
earthquakes. His symbolical animal was 
the jaguar. The Aztecs regarded him as 
one of the gods of night and as represent- 
ing one aspect of —¥ Tezcatlipoca. 

Terminus Roman god of border mark- 
ers. His feast was the Terminalia, held on 
23 February. 

Terpsichore (Greek = she who delights 
in dancing) The — > Muse of the solemn 
and ceremonial dance. She is usually 
shown with a lyre in her left hand, while 

she plucks the strings with the plectrum 
held in her right hand. 

Tesub (Tesup) The Hurrian weather- 
god, corresponding to the Hittite — ¥ Iskur. 
His attributes are the double-headed axe 
and the cluster of lightning flashes; his 
car is drawn by the bulls — ¥ Seri and 
Hurri. His wife is — ¥ Hebat. 

Teteo innan ('Mother of the gods') 
An ancient tellurian deity of the Aztecs, 
also known as Tonantzin (= 'our little 
mother'). Women revered her as a god- 
dess of childbirth and childcare, while 
men saw her as a divine warrior - 
Quauhcihuatl, 'Eagle woman'. She may 
be transmuted into the figure of — ¥ 
Cihuacoatl, and then again equated with 
the goddess of love — ¥ Tlazolteotl. 

Tethys Daughter of the sky-god — ¥ 
Uranos and the earth-goddess — ¥ Gaia: 
one of the — ¥ Titans. She is also the sister 
and the wife of — ¥ Okeanos. 

Teutates A god revered in Gaul, 
whose name is attested in Britain as 
Totatis. The name is interpreted as mean- 
ing 'father of the tribe, people'. He was 
thought of in connection with war and 
fighting (that is to say, a sort of Gallic — ¥ 
Mars) but also appeared as a god of fertil- 
ity and plenty (-* Mercurius, Gallic). His 
importance may be gauged from the epi- 
thets applied to him: Albiorix ('King of 
the world'), and Loucetios ('the shining 
one'), while Caturix ('lord of the battle') 
points to his warlike aspect. 

Tezcatlipoca (Tezcatl = mirror, popoca 
= smoking) Aztec tutelary god of war- 
riors, and avenger of misdeeds. One of 
his epithets was Moyocoya = the 
omnipotent. He represents the stars 
(— » Mixcoatl), the night sky, the winter, 
and the north, and is thereby the adver- 
sary of — ¥ Huitzilopochtli. The animal 

Thor 183 

sacred to him is the jaguar, whose spotted 
coat is reminiscent of the night sky. On 
the other hand, Tezcatlipoca may also 
embody the sun. It is typical of his divi- 
sive and divided being that he is able to 
lead — > Quetzalcoatl into temptation. 
Each year, a prisoner of war was chosen 
as the earthly representative of 
Tezcatlipoca, and sacrificed by having his 
heart torn from his breast. 

Thab-lha A hearth-god in the old 
Tibetan Bon religion. Condign punish- 
ment awaits anyone who defiles his 
domestic fires. He is imagined as a red 
man who holds a snake aloft in the form 
of a noose. 



Thalia (Greek thaleia = she who blos- 
soms) The — > Muse of comedy, the 
light-hearted art of letters. Among her 
attributes are a comic mask, a wreath of 
ivy and a crooked staff. 



Thalna An Etruscan goddess of birth, 
depicted as a sumptuously clad young 
woman; she is often shown in the com- 
pany of the sky-god — > Tin. 

Thanatos In Greek mythology, the son 
of Night (— » Nyx) and twin brother of —¥ 
Hypnos. At a later period he was por- 
trayed as a beautiful winged youth, bear- 
ing a lowered torch in one hand. 

Theandr(i)os A pre-Islamic god 
revered in north Arabia, and known to us 
from Greek and Latin inscriptions. 

Theia In Greek mythology, one of the 
— > Titans, wife of —¥ Hyperion: their chil- 
dren are the sun-god — > Helios, the moon- 
goddess — > Selene and the goddess of 
dawning — > Eos. The name Theia means 
'the divine one'; another of her names - 
Euryphaessa = she whose rays shine 

afar - underlines her character as a goddess 
of light. 

Themis Greek goddess of justice, 
order and morality. She was supposed to 
be the daughter of the sky-god — > Uranos 
and the earth-goddess — > Gaia; she was 
the wife of — > Zeus and the mother of the 
— > Horae and the —> Moires. 

Thesan Etruscan goddess of dawning, 
who not only ushers in the day but also, 
according to evidence from Greek 
sources, was regarded as a goddess to 
invoke in childbirth. 

Theseus Athenian cult figure and 
national hero. His father is variously 
given as the sea-god — > Poseidon, and as 
the mythical King Aigeus, from whom the 
Aegean Sea gets its name. One of his 
most outstanding feats was to conquer the 
monster — > Minotauros. 

Thetis Daughter of the Greek sea-god 
— > Nereus and wife of the mortal Peleus; 
their son was — > Achilleus. 

Thiassi (Thjazi) A giant in Nordic 
mythology, the father of — > Skadi. He was 
slain by — > Thor, and his eyes were 
thrown into the skies where they became 

Thor (Old Saxon thunar. Donar, etymo- 
logically cognate with German Dormer) 
Germanic god of thunderstorms and of 
fertility, belonging to the race of the Aesir 
(— > As); the son of — > Odin and the divine 
personification of the earth (—¥ Jord). He 
drives in a chariot drawn by two goats, 
and possesses the throwing-hammer 
Mjolnir. In the Edda, he is described as 
the strongest of all the gods whom he pro- 
tects, along with the human race, against 
the giants. At Ragnarok, the twilight of 
the gods, he slays the — > Midgard-snake, 
but is himself done to death in the 
moment of victory. It was to Thor that 

1 84 Thot 

men turned for happiness in marriage, 
and for protection of herds and crops. His 
sacred tree was the oak (the Donar-oak at 
Geismar, felled by Boniface). The 
Romans took him to be equivalent to — > 
Hercules or — > Jupiter, and the fourth day 
of the week is named after him. 

Thot (Dehuti) Ancient Egyptian god of 
the moon, of the calendar and of chrono- 
logy. His attribute is writing materials or 
a palm-leaf (as a year/date marker). His 
ibis head identifies him as native to the 
delta, and in Hermopolis he soon fused 
with the figure of the peacock-headed 
god — > Hez-ur. In myth we are told how 
Thot searches for and finds the lost eye of 
the moon, which he heals with his spittle. 
Another tradition relates how Thot was 
born from the head of — > Seth. He is 'rep- 
resentative deputy of — > Re' and versed in 
very powerful magic skills. As protector 
of — ¥ Osiris he came to be seen as a guide 
and helper of the dead; and in due course 
this led to his identification with the 
Greek escort of souls — > Hermes. 

Th'uban A fire-spitting, dragon-like 
demon in Islamic literature, known to the 
Arabs under the name of Tinnin. It is 
likely that a pre-Islamic snake-deity 
underlies the figure. 

Thunupa Ancient Peruvian culture- 
hero, who can transform himself into the 
figure of — > Huiracocha and who also 
shows signs of Christian influence. Thus, it 
is said of him that he came from the north, 
carried a cross and expelled the old gods. 

Thursir In Germanic mythology, giant 
demonic beings with big ears and covered 
with rough hair. They can cause illnesses 
and rob men of their understanding. In 
myth, the Thursir were present at the 
beginning of the world: the world-giant 
— > Ymir is the progenitor of all the 
Hrimthursir, the giants of frost and rime. 

Tiamat (Akkadian = sea) In old 
Mesopotamian myth, the name of the uni- 
versal mother, the personification of salt 
water and spouse of the god of fresh water 
— > Apus. Tiamat is the primeval dragon- 
like monster of original chaos, which is 
defeated by the god —¥ Marduk, and from 
whose two halves he forms heaven and 

Tian The Chinese word denotes both 
the sky and its personification. Tian 
fused partly with the ancient sky-god — > 
Shang-di, partly with the supreme being 
of Taoism — > Yu-di. From the Zhou 
Dynasty (c. 1050-256 BC) onwards, 
the Chinese Emperor was regarded as 
the 'son of heaven'. In the meaning of 
'supreme ruler' the characters tian and di 
are interchangeable. 



Tian-zhu ('lord of heaven') The desig- 
nation chosen for 'God' in the Chinese 
Catholic catechism. 

Tiberinus The most important river- 
god of the Romans, whose temple stood 
from the very earliest times on an island 
in the Tiber. In order not to provoke the 
god, bridges across the stream had to be 
made of wood only, with no iron parts; a 
constraint which lasted right into the 
republican period. In myth, his bride is 
the vestal virgin thrown into the Tiber, 
Rhea Silvia. 

Tiki (known as Ki'i in Hawaii) The 
Polynesian designation either for the god 
who first created man, or alternatively, for 
the first man himself. Furthermore, Tiki 
also denotes anthropomorphic images of 
gods fashioned out of stone or wood. 

Tilla A bull-god of the Human people 
in ancient Asia Minor. Yoked with the bull 
— > Seri he sometimes pulls the chariot of 
the weather-god. 

Titans 185 

Tin (Tinia) Etruscan sky-god, depicted 
sometimes bearded, sometimes 
unbearded, but always with a cluster of 
lightning flashes. His attributes may also 
include a spear or sceptre. The Romans 
equated Tin with — ¥ Jupiter. 

Tinirau East Polynesian god of the sea 
and of fish, depicted sometimes in 
human, sometimes in fish form. He is 
of terrifying appearance as is indicated 
by his epithet 'the swallower'. There are 
several versions of the myth relating 
his love affair with the lady in the moon 
—¥ Hina. 

Tinnit (also Thinit; an earlier reading of 
the name was Tanit) Supreme goddess 
of Carthage with the constant epithet of 
'face of Baal'. She is queen of heaven, 
virgin and mother, and she confers fertil- 
ity. In this latter capacity she bears the 
name Nutrix ('foster-mother', 'she who 
nourishes'), and has such attributes as a 
pomegranate, figs, ears of wheat and, 
from the realm of creatures, the dove. Her 
special symbol is the so-called Tinnit 
emblem: a triangle with horizontal beams 
placed on it, on which a disc lies. In her 
capacity as Dea Caelestis she seems to 
have had some sort of relationship with 
the moon. 

Tir Armenian god of writing, wisdom 
and oracles. His epithet 'clerk of Ormizd' 
suggests Iranian influence. In the — ¥ 
Mithraic mysteries, Tir corresponds to — > 

Tirawa The god of the Pawnee Indians 
who live in Kansas. He is the creator of all 
things and giver of life. The wind is his 
breath, and lightning is his glance; but no 
one knows what he really looks like. 
Tirawa is the power that has ordered all 
things and given man everything he 


('ford-maker': that is to say, he who finds 
a ford through the stream of the rebirth 
cycle) A saviour in Jainism. Jains bel- 
ieve that there have been 24 such saviours, 
of whom the following are treated in 
this book: Risabha, Suparsva, Parsva and 
Mahavlra. The symbol of all Tirtham karas 
is the mystic syllable hrim, where the 
nasal marker takes the shape of the sickle 
moon in token of deliverance. 

Tispak The Babylonian tutelary god of 
Esnumma. It is possible that he was taken 
over by the Hurrians (weather-god — > 

Tistriya Iranian stellar god (Sirius) 
who engages the forces of evil in combat, 
as leader of the armies of Angru Mainyu 
(—¥ Ahriman). He also sends rain and the 
seed of useful plants. In Armenia, Tistriya 
appears in a different capacity under the 
name of —¥ Tir. 

Titans The secondary race of gods in 
Greek mythology, comprising the six sons 
and the six daughters of the sky-god — > 
Uranos and the earth-goddess — ¥ Gaia. 
According to Hesiod they form six sets of 
pairs; among the best known of these pairs 
are — ¥ Okeanos and — ¥ Thetys, — > 
Hyperion and — > Theia, — ¥ Kronos and — ¥ 
Rheia. Others are Koios and Phoibe, Kreios 

1 86 Tiwaz 

and Eurybie, —> Iapetos and Klymene. Led 
by the youngest son Kronos, the Titans 
topple their father Uranos; later, however, 
they too are overthrown by — > Zeus with 
the help of the — > Cyclops. 

Tiwaz In Luvian (a language related to 
Hittite) the name of the sun-god. The 
name appears in Palaic in the form Tijaz. 
Both in function and in appearance the 
god corresponds to the Hittite — > Istanu. 

Tlahuizcalpantecutli ('lord in the house 
of twilight') Aztec god of the morning 
star. Under the calendar name of ce acatl 
('one-reed'), he figured as a mystic hero 
born of the virgin Chimalman (a personi- 
fication of the earth). 

Tlaloc Azetec rain-god, whose 
dwelling was supposed to be partly in the 
cloud-capped mountains and partly in 
springs and lakes. As he often conceals 
himself behind a dark storm-cloud, he is 
portrayed in manuscripts as black of body 
and with a painted face. In his hand he 
carries a staff which is the symbol of 
lightning; it may be toothed, or may have 
snakes entwined round it. His Maya coun- 
terpart is — > Chac. Those who are 
drowned or struck by lightning, and those 
who have leprosy are admitted to 
Tlalocan, the kingdom of Tlaloc, where 
they will never again suffer any need. 

Tlazolteotl The love-goddess of the 
Nahuatl people in Mexico, the mother of 
the maize-god Cinteotl. Her epithet 
Ixcuinan ('queen of cotton') comes from 
the Huastec people. Her forehead is 
bound and she has cotton ear-rings. The 
Aztecs identified her with their older 
earth-goddess — > Teteo innan, and 
regarded her as the mother of the maize- 
god. The name Tlazolteotl ('goddess of 
filth') seems to be a reference to illicit 
sexual relationships; adulterers came to 
her priest to confess. 

Tnong The sun-god of the Menik- 
Semang people in the Malacca Peninsula. 
He is supposed to take the shape of a 

Toar — > Empung Luminuut 


(Thoeris, Ta-uret, 'she who is great') 
Old Egyptian hippopotamus-goddess, 
who is portrayed as upright with human 
arms and breasts. In her capacity as a pro- 
tective deity she was depicted on beds, 
head-rests and in vignettes in the Books 
of the Dead. As an attribute she holds the 
Sa-loop, an emblem of protection; often 
also a torch to ward off demons. Toeris is 
especially helpful to women in childbirth. 

Tomam A bird-goddess of the Ket 
people in Siberia. She is queen of the 
migratory birds. 

Tomor(r) A divinity whose antecedents 
go far back into Illyrian times; father of 
the gods and of men, and also known as 
Baba Tomor. He is flanked by two female 
eagles with long beaks. The winds are his 
servitors. Even today, Albanian peasants 
swear by him. His spouse was supposed to 
be — > Bukura e dheut. 

Tonacacihuatl ('queen of our flesh') 
An Aztec goddess who co-operates with 
her husband — > Tonacatecutli in the task 

Trowo 1 87 

of transferring infant souls from heaven 
to the maternal womb. For this reason 
she is known as Omecihuatl ('queen of 

Tonacatecutli ('lord of our flesh') A 
supreme god of the Aztecs. He bears this 
name because it is he whom we have to 
thank for our food which builds up our 
bodies. Together with his wife — > 
Tonacacihuatl he sits enthroned in the 
loftiest of heavens, and together they are 
engaged in promoting generation and 
birth. In this capacity, he bears the name 
Ometecutli ('lord of duality'). 

Tonatiuh ('soaring eagle') Aztec sun- 
god, usually represented with a crown of 
eagle feathers. His house (tonatiu ichan) 
offered hospitality to those who had died 
in battle and to women who had died in 
childbed. Tonatiuh could also be wor- 
shipped in the form of — > Huitzilopochtli. 

Tore God of the forest and lord of ani- 
mals in the belief of the Bambuti pygmies 
in the Ituri area. He manifests himself in 
wind and storms, and may appear as a 
leopard. He may present himself in his 
fheriomorphic guise at initiation cere- 
monies for boys. 

Tork A mountain god in Old Armenian 
literature. His antecedents go back into 
the farthest Anatolian past, and subse- 
quently he acquired demonic traits. 
Originally, he was the mountain itself, 
and only thereafter the patron and protec- 
tor of the mountain world and the animals 
living in it. He was of hideous appear- 
ance, but nevertheless a being endowed 
with superhuman powers. 

Torto A fearsome spirit in Basque 
folklore. He has only one eye in the mid- 
dle of his forehead, and he likes to abduct 
young people whom he dismembers and 

Triglav (Trigelawus) A god of the Slav 
peoples who lived in the Baltic area; pre- 
sumably, he had a warlike function. The 
name means 'three-headed', and accord- 
ing to medieval chronicles he was repre- 
sented as three-headed at various sites in 
Stettin and Brandenburg. In Stettin he 
was regarded as the supreme god. Some 
sort of horse-oracle was connected with 
his cult. A south Slavonic god Triglav has 
also been postulated on many occasions, 
but there is no convincing evidence for 
this - in spite of the mountain with the 
same name in Slovenia. 

Trimurti ('having three forms'; trinity) 
The Indian trinity consisting of the world 
creator — > Brahma, the sustainer — > Visnu, 
and the destroyer — > Siva. According to the 
Samkhya school, the three are manifesta- 
tions of one essential unity. In popular 
belief they are often regarded as manifes- 
tations of the supreme god — > Isvara. 

Triphis The Greek name given to the 
Egyptian Repit ('she who is exalted'). 
Essentially, an honorary title, referring in 
particular to — > Hathor. However, it is 
also a proper name for a lion-goddess 
worshipped in the ninth nome of Upper 
Egypt, where Athribis was the cult-centre. 

Triton Greek sea-god, half-man, half- 
fish. His parents are — > Poseidon and — > 
Amphitrite. Later pluralized, so that now 
we speak of Tritons, meaning the male 
companions of the female — ¥ Nereids, who 
are shown blowing on their conch shells. 

Troll (Old Norse = fiend) In 
Scandinavian folk-belief, trolls are 
demons who may be male or female, 
giants or dwarfs. They are endowed with 
magic powers during the hours of dark- 
ness, and this is why they fear daylight. 

Trowo (the singular is tro) The Ewe 
people in Togo believe in these as God- 
created beings who represent various 

1 88 bTsan 

cosmic objects or phenomena - the sky, 
stars, lightning. Oldest among them is 
Anyigba, the earth, whose constituent 
parts - mountains, streams, forests, ant- 
hills - form their own series of trowo, 
who give children, cause the yams to 
flourish and induce or cure illnesses. 

bTsan (bCan) Tibetan demons whose 
realm is in the air. They appear as fierce 
ruddy huntsmen, riding furiously over 
the mountains on bright-red horses. 
Anyone found alone in the wilderness is 
slain by their deadly arrows. In ancient 
Tibet, the king was regarded as the earthly 
representative of the bTsan, and had the 
title bTsan-po. 

Tsukiyomi Japanese moon-god. He 
arose when —> Izanagi washed her right eye 
in the sea; when she washed her left eye, 
the sun-goddess — > Amaterasu was born. 


(1) (The Hawaiian Ku) Polynesian war- 
god; his name means 'he who stands'. He 
was also the great master-craftsman 

engaged in the creation of the world. On 
Mangarewa Tu is invoked to make the 
bread-fruit trees flourish. In ancient 
times, human sacrifice was made to the 
Hawaiian god 'Ku with the maggoty 

Tu (2) A god-like earth-spirit in 
ancient Chinese religion. It was also 
called she, and was the object of a fertil- 
ity cult. She-altars in phallic form were 
made out of pounded earth on fields 
belonging to the ruler and his vassals. 

Tuatha De Danann ('the people of the 
goddess Dana') A clan of Celtic gods 
in Ireland, to whom belong — > Dagda, — > 
Lug, and — > Ogma inter alia. In myth and 
in cult, these heroic deities appear as the 
partners of human beings. 

Tuchulcha Etruscan demon of the 
underworld. Its head looks like that of — > 
Charun, while its arms are entwined with 

Tupa Among the Guarani in South 
America, this is the favourite son of the 
supreme god. The name was taken over 
by Christian missionaries working in 
Brazil and in Paraguay to translate 'God'. 

Turan Etruscan goddess of love. Her 
attributes are a swan and a dove, often 
accompanied by a twig or a blossom. She 
is usually portrayed as winged, conform- 
ing in this to the general type of the 
ancient Mediterranean Great Mother. 
Turan was also the tutelary deity of the 
town of Vulci. 

Turms An Etruscan god with the func- 
tion of apsychopompos, guider of souls to 
the underworld. As such, he takes on 
the iconographic characteristics of — > 
Hermes, and is shown naked with a 
backwards-streaming shoulder cloak 
(chlamys), winged shoes and kerykeion 
(the herald's staff). 

Tyr 1 89 

Tursas In Finnish folk-poetry, a deep- 
sea monster which raises its head from 
the sea. The name probably derives from 
the Germanic thurs = giant, monster (— > 
Thursir). It is not clear to what extent 
Tursas is connected with the Turisas 
mentioned in a sixteenth-century list 
of gods. 

Tvastar (Tvastri; Sanskrit, 'he who 
forms') Indian craftsman-god who 
gave all things their forms, his principal 
achievements being the soma cup of the 
gods, and the thunderbolt (vajra) for — > 
Indra. In the earliest traditions he appears 
as the creator who gave heaven and earth 
their shape, and who gave life to 
mankind. In Hinduism he is reckoned as 
one of the twelve — > Adityas. 


Greek goddess of fate and fortune. In 
Hesiod's Theogony she appears as one of 

the daughters of — > Okeanos. Pindar calls 
her a daughter of — > Zeus. As a represen- 
tative of the unpredictable way of the 
world, Tyche became particularly popular 
at the time of the Sophists, when belief in 
other gods was at a low ebb. Several 
Hellenistic towns, such as Antiochia on 
the Orontes, chose Tyche as their tutelary 
goddess. In art she is shown with a helms- 
man's rudder (as director of fate) and cor- 
nucopia (as bringer of good fortune). The 
wheel and the globe point to inconstancy 
and transitoriness. Her Roman counter- 
part was — > Fortuna. 

Typhon (Typhoeus) The progeny of the 
underworld (Tartaros) and the earth (— ¥ 
Gaia). A monster with a hundred dragon- 
heads and snake's feet. From his union 
with — > Echidna came — > Kerberos, — > 
Ladon and the Chimaira. The name 
Typhon (or Typhos) means 'whirlwind', 
and later the giant was taken to be a demon 
which causes storms and earthquakes. 

Tyr The original form was Tiwaz, 
Anglo-Saxon Tiw, Old High German Ziu, 
cognate with Greek — > Zeus. To begin 
with, a sky-god of the early Germanic 
peoples, till he was ousted by — ¥ Odin. 
The Romans were quick to identify him 
as a god of war, and the week-day dedi- 
cated to Mars became Ziu's day (Tuesday; 
Alemannic Zischdi). Tyr/Ziu was not only 
god of war but also of justice, and his 
spear was an emblem of judicial authority 
as well as being a weapon. At Ragnarok 
the god falls in battle with — > Garm. 


Uacilla Among the Ossetians who live 
in the Caucasus, the spirit ruling over 
thunder, lightning and rain. The ilia com- 
ponent in the name is derived from Elias 
(Elijah), the Old Testament prophet who 
is regarded in Eastern Europe as the lord 
of thunder and storm. 

Udu(g) (Akkadian Utukku) An ancient 
Mesopotamian demon, regarded for the 
most part as malevolent. The terrifying 
Utukku can turn into the evil — > Sebettu. 

Ugar An Old Syrian god. The name is 
probably derived from the Akkadian ugar 
= field, and indicates the agricultural 
nature of the god. It is not clear whether 
or not the name of the town, Ugarit, is 
connected with him. 

Uji-gami ('clan-chief') A Japanese 
designation for ancestral or progenitor 

Ukemochi A kind of fertility goddess 
in Shintoism; after she was slain by the 
moon-god — > Tsukiyomi, rice, oats, 
beans, a cow, a horse and silk-worms 
were found beside her corpse. 

Ukko ('old man') The Finnish god of 
thunder, also known as Isainen 
('grandad'). When he drives his wagon 
along a stony path in the heavens, sparks 
fly from the hooves of his horses. When it 
thunders, people say that Ukko is rolling 
big stones or grinding corn. In incanta- 
tions and magic spells he is described as 
having such attributes as a blue cloak, a 
fiery pelt, a sword, an axe and a hammer. 
In Karelia and in Ingermanland, the 
prophet Elias (Elijah) takes the place 
of Ukko. 

Ulgan The sky-god of the Altai Tatars. 
He it is who sends the saviour Maidere to 
earth, to teach men to respect and fear the 
true god, but Maidere is slain by the evil 
— > Erlik. From Maidere 's blood there 
arises a fire which roars up to heaven, 
whereupon the sky-god causes Erlik and 
his followers to be destroyed. 

Ull(r) A north Germanic god, whose 
name may be connected with the Gothic 
word wulthus = splendour. He is closely 
associated with the administration of jus- 
tice (oaths were sworn over his ring) and 
he was invoked for protection in duels. He 
was reckoned to be a skilful archer and 
skier. On the one hand he has all the traits 
of a god of winter, but on the other he is 
connected with the forces of fertility, and 
in place-names his name is more often 
than not combined with words meaning 
'field', 'meadow', etc. In myth, Ull is the 
son of — > Sif and the stepson of — > Thor. 

Ullikummi Ancient Anatolian demon, 
created by the dethroned king of the gods 
— > Kumarbi, by making a stone pregnant, 
in order to help him to get back his king- 
dom in heaven. 

Uma In India, the personification of 
light and beauty; also venerated under the 
name of — > Gaurl. She is the Devi (god- 
dess) allotted to — > Siva, and, as such, can 
turn into — > Durga or — > Parvatl. The 
main centre of her cult is in Bengal. 

Umvelinqangi The creator god of the 
Zulu people in South Africa. He caused 
trees and grass to grow and created all 
animals. Finally, he fashioned a reed or 
cane, out of which the god — > 
Unkulunkulu emerged. 

Uras 191 

Uneg A plant-god mentioned in the 
Pyramid texts, companion of the sun-god 
—> Re, and bearer of the heavens. 

Ungucl Aboriginals in north-west 
Australia believe in this divine creative 
power which takes the form of a snake and 
which can be thought of as male, female 
or androgynous. It may also represent the 
rainbow. Medicine-men believe that their 
erect penis is identical with Ungud. 

Uni Etruscan goddess, corresponding 
in terms of Greek myth to — > Hera, and 
accordingly allocated to the sky-god — > 
Tin. In addition, she was the tutelary god- 
dess of Perugia. It is probable that the 
name Uni is not Etruscan, but connected 
with the Italic-Latin name Iuno (— > Juno). 

Unkulunkulu The supreme god of the 
Zulus in South Africa, said to have 
emerged from a 'primeval cane'. He 
and his wife of the same name (together 
forming an androgynous unity?) then 
generated the first human beings. 

Unumbotte A mythical god of the 
Bassari people who live in Togo. He first 
created human beings, and then the 

Unut A goddess in the form of a hare 
who was worshipped in the fifteenth 
nome of Upper Egypt (Hermopolis). 
Later, she took on the lineaments of a 
lioness. She was finally ousted as a figure 
of any significance by -> Thot, and was 
reduced to playing the part of a protective 
goddess armed with knives. 

Upelluri In Hurrian belief (ancient 
Anatolia) a world-giant, whose torso 
sticks up out of the ocean and bears 
heaven and earth. 

Upuaut (Wep-wawet; the Greek tran- 
scription is Ophois) Ancient Egyptian 
god of Siut, in the form of a black jackal 

or wolf. The name means 'he who opens 
up ways, paths' and may refer to a suc- 
cessful military campaign. His standard 
accompanied the king as a sort of battle 
ensign. His attributes as a god of war are 
the club and the bow. In processions he 
precedes the god — > Osiris, just as he pre- 
cedes the king. In Abydos he became, as 
'lord of the necropolis', a god of the dead. 

Upulevo The sun-god in the 
Indonesian island of Timor. No image is 
made of him, and he is worshipped in the 
form of a lamp made from woven coconut 
leaves. He comes down over a fig-tree to 
his wife, mother earth, in order to fertilize 
her. Pigs and dogs are sacrificed in front 
of this tree. 

Upulvan (short form Pulvan) The high- 
est of the four great gods in the Singhalese 
pantheon. His name means 'the water-lily 
coloured one'. According to the tradition, 
he was the only god who stood by — > 
Gautama Buddha in the latter's fight with 
— > Mara. In recent times the god has 
tended to fuse with the Hindu — > Visnu. 

Urania ('the heavenly one') One of the 
nine — > Muses, she who comforts mortals 
by pointing to the harmony of heaven. She 
represents astronomy, and her attribute is 
the heavenly sphere. 

Uranos ('heaven', 'sky') Greek god of 
the sky, the husband of the earth goddess 
— > Gaia; their progeny are the — > Titans 
and the — ¥ Cyclops. When Uranos driven 
by hatred and fear banished the Cyclops 
to the underworld (Tartaros), Gaia incited 
the youngest son (— ¥ Kronos) to attack his 
father, castrate him with a sickle and 
topple him from his throne. From the 
drops of blood which fell into the sea — > 
Aphrodite was born. 

Uras An old Mesopotamian form 
of the earth goddess, espoused to the 

192 Urd 

sky-god — ¥ An. Their child was the god- 
dess of healing — ¥ Nin'insinna. 



Uriel (Hebrew = 'my light is like God') 
In the Old Testament apocrypha, an angel 
who reveals secret things to Esdras (4: 4). 
In Christian angelology, an archangel. 

Urme (Also known as ursitory) Polish, 
Russian and Serbian gipsies believe in 
these female spirits who determine peo- 
ple's fate. They are thought of as three in 

Ursanabi (Sursunabu) In the Gilgames 
epic, the ferryman of the underworld 

Urthekau (Werethekau = 'she who is 
rich in magic') A personification of 
mysterious supernatural powers, which 
the ancient Egyptians imagined as inher- 
ent in the crown. The lion-headed crown 
goddess dwelt in the state sanctuary. 
Urthekau could also figure as an epithet 
for other goddesses, e.g. of — ¥ Isis. 

Urtzi (Ortzi, Urcia) A Basque word 
meaning 'firmament' and, by extension, 
the sky-god, who also acted the part of the 

Usanas In India, the divine regent of 
the planet Venus. He is white in colour 
and holds a staff, a prayer-ring and a 
water-pot in his hands. This deity may 
also be portrayed as a woman sitting on a 
camel. Usanas was supposed to be the 
tutor of the demons (— ¥ Daityas). 

Usas Indian goddess of the early dawn, 
daughter of the sky-god — ¥ Dyaus, and 
beloved of — ¥ Surya. In the Vedas she is 
described as a delicate bride in rose-red 
garments with a golden veil. She drives in 
a car pulled by reddish cows (an image of 
the morning clouds). 

Usins A Latvian deity with somewhat 
indeterminate functions. In part it has 
the characteristics of a god of light, with 
special reference to the morning or the 
evening star; in part, again, it is 
connected with spring, and, finally, appears 
as a sort of tutelary deity of bees. With the 
coming of Christianity, the figure of Usins 
was transmutted into that of St George. 

Usnisavijaya ('the victorious one with 
the head-band') A particularly popular 
Buddhist goddess, white in colour with a 
white mandala; she has three faces and 
eight arms. — ¥ Vairocana is visible in her 
crown. She posseses the virtues of all the 

Utgard-Loki In Nordic mythology, a 
demonic giant to whom even the gods — ¥ 
Loki and — ¥ Thor succumb in competition. 
Thor tries in vain to overcome the giant's 
foster-mother (a personification of old 
age) in a wrestling bout, and to lift his cat 
(the —¥ Midgard-snake) from the ground. 


(Wadjet) The name of the old Egyptian 
snake-goddess of Buto (in the sixth nome 
of Lower Egypt). Her name means 'she 
who is papyrus-coloured' - i.e. 'the green 

al-Uzza 193 

one', and the goddess is bound up with 
the regenerative forces of vegetation. As 
the tutelary goddess of Lower Egypt she 
is the counterpart of the Upper Egyptian 
vulture-goddess — > Nechbet. Uto is equated 
with the uraeus of the monarch, thus 
becoming a manifestation of the solar eye. 

Utu Sumerian sun-god. His main role 
is that of a guardian of justice. In other 
respects he falls short of the Akkadian 
sun-god — > Samas in importance and sig- 
nificance, and this is evident from the fact 
that he is classified under the moon-god 
(— > Nanna) who was his father. 

Uzume Japanese goddess of jollity, 
whose obscene dancing entices the god- 
dess — ¥ Amaterasu from her cave, thus 
ensuring the return of the spring sunshine 
bringing life and fertility. 

al-Uzza The Bedouin tribes in ancient 
central Arabia regarded al-Uzza as the 
youngest daughter of Allah (the other two 
being — > Allat and — > Manat). She dwells 
in an acacia-like tree. Her cult can be 
shown to have spread to north Arabia 
where she is known as Han-Uzzai. Her 
identification with the morning star is 
also attested. 


Vac (Vak = speech) In India, the 
deified personification of speech, which 
is believed to be invested with magical 
powers. In the Rigveda, Vac is the world 
principle which underlies all action by 
the gods. The goddess is regarded as the 
wife of — > Prajapati. In Buddhism, Vak is 
a name of —¥ Manjusri; he sits in the med- 
itative posture, with his hands in his lap. 

Vadatajs An evil being in Latvian 
folklore. It may appear either as an animal 
or in human form and it tries to lead 
travellers astray at cross-roads. 

Vahagn Armenian god of bravery and 
victory, corresponding to the Iranian — > 
Verethragna. His epithet, Visapakal, has 
not been satisfactorily explained: it may 
mean ' dragon- strangler' (dragon-slayer) 
or 'drawer up of dragons', in the sense of 
a god of thunder-storms. In Armenian 
myth, Vahagn arises from fire and has 
flames for hair. 

Vahguru ('Great guru') The name of 
the one true God in the Sikh religion which 
has been influenced by both Hinduism and 
Islam. He is also known by the Hindu 
names Hari ('God') and Govinda ('herds- 
man'). There are no images of gods in the 
Golden Temple at Amritsar. 

Vaimanika In Jainism, a group of 
gods who dwell in mobile palaces in the 
world above. One of the most important 
gods in this group is — > Sakra. 

Vainamoinen The central figure in 
the Kalevala, the Finnish folk-epic: a 
singer of magical potency and inventor 
of the kantele (a zither-like instrument). 
He has all the marks of a shaman who 

can range through the underworld in 
the form of a snake; in the end, however, 
he is translated to the heavens where 
Orion is his scythe and the Pleiades 
form his woven shoes. In a list of gods 
drawn up in the sixteenth century he 
figures as Ainemoinen, 'he who forges 

Vairocana ('sun-scion') One of the 
five — ¥ Dhyani-Buddhas. Of the five 
world-divisions, the centre is the one 
allotted to him, and his season is the win- 
ter. He is white in colour, and his hands 
are held in the so-called sermon position 
against his chest. His vehicle is a pair of 
dragons or a lion, and his emblem is a 
white wheel. In Tantrism he appears as 
three-faced and six-armed. In China, 
Vairocana is known as Pi-lu Fo and may 
appear in the office of a world-ruler. 
Certain Japanese sects like the Tendai 
and the Shingon regard him as the uni- 
versal Buddha, all other Buddhas, 
Bodhisattvas and gods being merely 
specific manifestations of him. 

Vaisravana (in Pali, Vessavana; in 
Chinese Do Wen) One of the four 
Buddhist guardians of the world (— > 
Caturmaharajas). Vaisravana is entrusted 
with the northern quarter. His allotted 
colour is yellow, he bears a banner aloft 
in token of victorious belief and he is lord 
of the —> Yaksas who watch over hidden 



Vajrabhairava ('he who arouses fear') 
Buddhist god regarded as a manifestation 
of — > Manjusri, whose function is to over- 
come the god of death (— » Yama). He has 

Vanth 1 95 

9 heads, 34 arms and 16 legs. The main 
head is that of a bull. 

Vajra pa ni ('he who holds a vajra in his 
hand') Originally, in the earliest 
Buddhist period, a kind of protective spirit 
accompanying — > Gautama; later, reckoned 
as one of the eight great — > Bodhisattvas, 
and as an emanation of — > Aksobhya. 
Finally he was seen as preceptor of esoteric 
doctrines and 'lord of secrets'. 

Vajrasattva ('Vajra-being') Revered 
in Nepal as the sixth — > Dhyani-Buddha. 
In much Tantric ritual he is regarded as a 
mystic Buddha. The second half of the 
night is allotted to him, and his season is 
autumn. He is portrayed balancing a vajra 
on his right hand in front of his breast. 

Vajravarahi In Buddhist belief, one 
of the most important supernatural female 
beings (— » Dakinl). Her name means 
'diamond-sow' and this she owes to the 
fact that there is a growth close to her 
right ear which looks like a pig's head. 
Her naked body is red like a pomegranate 
blossom. In her right hand she holds a 
thunderbolt (vajra), and in the left a skull 
and a club. 

Vajrayogini A Buddhist goddess of 
initiation, one of the — > Dakinls. In her 
yellow form she is headless, and carries 
her head in her hand. From her rump 
comes a stream of blood. In her more 
usual red form, she has thunderbolt, cra- 
nium and club as attributes, and is 
functionally equivalent to — > Vajravarahi. 

Vali A Germanic god, the son of — ¥ 
Odin and of — > Rind. He was only one night 
old when he avenged the death of — > Balder 
by slaying the murderer Hodur. The speci- 
fication of 'one night old' probably refers 
to moment of initiation, not to date of birth. 

Valkyries (German Walkiiren; also as 
Valkyrien; Old Norse valkyrja = 'she 

who selects the dead') Supernatural 
female beings commissioned by the god 
— > Odin to intervene in battles and bring 
heroes doomed to die (Einherjer) up to 
Valhalla, 'hall of the dead'. From the 
names of individual Valkyries, their orig- 
inal function as natural demonic forces is 
clear: thus, for example, Wolkenthrut 
('cloud-power') and Mist ('fog'). It is not 
until the heroic epic in Middle High 
German that the anthropomorphic image 
of the warrior maiden appears. 

Vampire In south Slavonic folklore, 
the spirit of a dead person, or a corpse 
revived by an evil spirit. Vampires arise 
by night from graves and suck people's 
blood. In the literature of the nineteenth 
and twentieth centuries - for example, in 
E.TA. Hoffmann and Gogol - vampires 
became more and more demonic in char- 
acter: it is enough to think of the film fig- 
ure of Dracula. In Greek folklore the — » 
Lamia correspond to the vampires. 

Vanir A group of north Germanic 
gods, including among their number — > 
Freyr, — > Freya, and — ¥ Njord: all three of 
them being fertility deities. The struggle 
between the Aesir (— > As) and the Vanir, 
and the subsequent reconciliation 
between them, may reflect the opposition 
between two ways of life - that of the 
peasant and that of the warrior. The Vanir 
countenanced marriage between siblings, 
and they were master magicians (seidr). 

Vanth A female demon in the Etruscan 
underworld. She is represented as winged, 
with a snake, a torch and a key as attrib- 
utes. On alabaster urns from Volterra we 
can see that there is a large eye on the 
inside of each of her wings - a warning 
that this demonic being is everywhere 
present and keeps an eye on everybody. 
Vanth is a messenger of death and may be 
helpful with the quietus. 

1 96 Varaha 


The third incarnation of the Indian god — > 
Visnu. In the form of a boar he slays the 
demon Hirafiyaksa and frees the earth 
which the demon had sunk in the ocean. 

Varuna The supreme god in Vedism, 
creator of the three worlds, heaven, earth 
and air. The etymology of the name is 
doubtful; it may be cognate with the 
Greek Uranos ('sky'). Varuna is the 
guardian of order, both cosmic and moral 
(rita). He binds evil-doers with his 
nooses; but he can undo sin just as one 
undoes a noose. In late Vedic theology, 
Varuna becomes lord of the night as — > 
Mitra is of the day. In later mythology, 
Varuna is the god of water and guardian 
of the westerly quarter of heaven. One of 
his epithets is Nagaraja, 'King of the 

Vasistha In Indian mythology, a poet 
(— » Risi) who had access to the gods, and 
who may indeed have been himself of 
divine origin. He is provided with every- 
thing he requires by the wishing-cow 
Nandini. According to the Puranas, he is 
one of the — > Prajapatis. 

Vasudhara ('she who holds treasure') 
Buddhist goddess of riches, in origin, per- 
haps, an earth-goddess. She is the consort 
of — > Vaisravana. She is portrayed as yellow 
in colour, aged 16, and heavily bedecked 
with jewellery. With her right hand she 
makes the gesture of donation of largesse, 
while in her left hand she holds ears of corn 
and often a vessel filled with jewels. She 
stands on the moon above a double lion. 



Vasus A group of Indian gods. In the 
Rigveda, their leader is said to be — > Indra, 
whose role is later taken by — > Agni. The 
other seven Vasus are the deified forms of 
earth, wind, air, sun, moon, stars and sky. 

Vata Old Iranian god of the wind 
(vata = wind). He is called Asvara ('the 
truthful one') and is often mentioned along 
with — » Mithra and — > Rasnu. The god of 
victory — > Verethragna first appeared to 
Zarathustra in the form of Vata. 

Vayu (Sanskrit = wind) Indian god of 
wind; it is related in certain myths that he 
arose from the breath of the world-giant — > 
Purusa. Vayu, — > Agni and — > Surya form 
one of the oldest triads. In the Rigveda, the 
— » Maruts appear as his sons. In Iran too 
there was a wind-god called Vayu along 
with — > Vata. The Iranian Vayu was the 
tutelary god of warriors, and also a deity 
controlling fate. In this latter capacity he 
can appear as either a beneficient Vayu or 
an evil one (then also known as Wai). This 
dual role is particularly marked in the 
Pahlavi texts. Pantheistic speculation made 
Vayu out to be the breath of God, or the 
suspiration of the cosmos. 



Veive (Vetis; Latin Veiovis or Vedius) 
An Etruscan god, beardless, with arrows 
and a goat as attributes. He is of youthful 
appearance and is reminiscent of — > Aplu, 

Vesta 197 

both of them having a laurel wreath on 
their heads. Veive was either ousted by 
Aplu as a cult figure, or fused with him. 

Veja mate ('wind-mother') Latvian 
goddess of the winds, who rules the 
weather. When she tears across the land it 
is said of her, 'she is blowing her flute'. 
Together with — > Meza mate she looks 
after the forests and the birds. 

Veles (Volos) Slav god of the under- 
world. In modern Czech veles means some- 
thing like 'devil'. In Old Russian texts, 
Volos has the epithet 'cattle-god', and non- 
Varangian Russians had to swear by him. 

Velnias Lithuanian name for the devil; 
the name is a derivative from vele, 
velionis — dead person. 

Velu mate ('mother of the dead') 
Latvian queen of the dead; she is clad in a 
white woollen wrap and she receives the 
dead at the entrance to the burial place. 
Her epithet is indicative: Kapu mate, 
' graveyard-mother' . 


(Latin = love, sensual desire) Old Italic 
goddess of spring and gardens, native to 
Latium. It was not until the beginning 
of the third century BC that her cult 
reached Rome. Her feast - the Veneralia - 
was celebrated on 1 April. Under the influ- 
ence of Greek literature she was equated 
with — > Aphrodite. Caesar, who regarded 
himself as descended from — > Aeneas 
and hence from Aphrodite/Venus, intro- 
duced the cult of Venus Genetrix, in which 
the life-giving function of the goddess was 

Verbti {verbi = the blind one) Old 
Albanian god of fire and of the north 
wind which fans fires. He hates unclean- 
liness and bad ways of speaking. 
Christianization turned Verbti into a 
demon, and it was spread about that 
anyone who invoked him would go blind. 


■ Norns 

Verethragna Old Iranian god of 
victory who manifests himself in the 
wind, and then again in anthropomorphic 
or theriomorphic form. Particularly note- 
worthy is his incarnation as a boar which 
tramples opponents with its metal feet. 
The name contains the word vritra — 
encloser, obstruction (for the Indian form 
— > Vritra): Verethragna is he who breaks 
down resistance, the victor. 

Vertumnus (or Vortumnus) In origin, 
an Etruscan god (— ¥ Voltumna) who was 
taken over by the Romans in the third 
century BC. He was revered as the god 
of change, i.e. of the changing year (Latin 
vertere = to turn, change). His feast, 
the Vortumnalia, was celebrated on 
13 August. The wife of Vertumnus was — > 

Vesta Old Italic goddess of the domes- 
tic hearth and its fire, and, as such, related 
to the Greek — > Hestia. The small round 

1 98 Vestius Alonieus 

temple dedicated to her at the foot of the 
Palatine Hill contained no image of the 
goddess; but there was the public hearth 
with the sacred fire burning. Near the 
sanctuary lay the atrium Vestae where the 
vestales, charged with the care of the fire, 
lived. The ass was regarded as sacred to 
the goddess, as one was supposed to have 
defended her against the advances of — > 
Priapos. On her feast-day, asses were 
adorned with wreaths. 

Vestius Alonieus A god once revered 
in north-west Hispania; he was associated 
with the bull, and had a military function. 

Vibhvan — > Ribhus 


Roman goddess of victory, corresponding 
to the Greek — > Nike. She had her own 
temple on the Palatine Hill in Rome. She 
was regarded as the maiden protector 
of the Roman Empire, and was often 
portrayed on coins. 

Vidar North Germanic god, the son of 
— > Odin and of the giantess Gridr. He is the 
god of vengeance, who slays the wolf — > 

Fenrir in retaliation for the death of — ¥ Odin 
at Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods. 
After Ragnarok, Vidar and his half- 
brother — > Vali are to rule over the rejuve- 
nated world. 

Vidyadhara ('possessor of knowledge') 
Semi-divine beings in Buddhist belief, 
who are supposed to possess a knowledge 
of supernatural powers. They can fly 
through the air and are therefore known as 
vayuputras, 'sons of the wind'. They bear 
garlands of flowers and are reminiscent of 
flying genii. In Tibet they are Tantric 
divinities under the name of rig-'dzin 
Inga, i.e. they are five (Inga) in number. 

Vidyujjvalakarali A Buddhist god- 
dess, a specific form of — > Ekajata. Her 
name means 'she who is as terrible as the 
fire of lightning', and she is indeed a fear- 
some figure: jet-black in colour, armed 
with such attributes as sword, vajra, 
arrow, spear, hammer, club, knife, noose 
and skull, to say nothing of her bared 
fangs, her 12 heads and her 24 arms. Her 
brown hair streams upwards like flames. 

Vighnantaka ('he who gets rid of 
obstructions') A Buddhist god, who 
also appears under the name of Vighnari, 
and who is a door-keeper of mandalas. He 
is usually represented as having one head 
and two arms; he is blue in colour and of 
terrifying appearance. In his left hand 
with its threatening index-finger, he holds 
the noose, while his right hand raises the 

Vili and Ve In Nordic mythology, the 
sons of Bor, and the brothers of — > Odin. 
From the members of the primeval giant 
— > Ymir, slain by them, the three brothers 
fashion the earth and they use his blood to 
make the sea. The proposed etymology of 
'will' for Vili and 'holiness' for Ve 
(Gothic weihs) is not certain. 

Vilkacis A werewolf in Latvian folk- 
lore, known in Lithuanian as Vilkatas. 

Visnu 199 

Usually a threatening figure, he may on 
occasion have treasures to bestow. 

Vi'ly Spirits of wind and storm in 
Slavonic folklore. In Slovakia they are 
regarded as the souls of dead girls, who 
lead young men to death. In south Slavonic 
belief, they are beautiful female beings 
endowed with supernatural powers: they 
often appear in the form of a swan, on occa- 
sion of a horse. They are in general well 
disposed towards humanity, but the 
arrows they fire may disturb one's reason. 
Country people used to lay food and flow- 
ers in front of caves where they believed the 
vila dwelt. 

Viraj ('she who extends herself in might') 
In Indian mythology, a primeval being 
generated by — > Brahman; often thought 
of as the primeval cow. Another tradition 
makes Viraj a female creative principle 
which has arisen from — > Purusa. 

Virtus (Latin = courage, manliness) A 
Roman goddess, often coupled with — > 
Honos as the personification of virile 
manhood. Virtus is represented as a 
maiden in a short tunic, with a helmet on 
her head, and a sword and/or a lance in 
her hand. 

Virudhaka (in Pali Virulha; in Chinese 
Zeng Zhang) One of the four Buddhist 
guardians of the world (—¥ Catur- 
maharajas). He is specifically charged 
with looking after the southern quarter. 
His colour is blue, he holds a sword 
and is lord over the demonic Kumbhanda. 

Virupaksa (in Pali, Virupakkha; in 
Chinese Guang Mu) In Buddhism, the 
guardian of the western quarter of heaven, 
one of the four great kings (— > 
Caturmaharajas). He is red in colour. As 
lord over the — > Nagas, he holds a snake 
in one hand; in the other he holds a pearl 
or other jewel. Often a pagoda is also 


Indian god; in the Vedas, the consort of — > 
Indra. As he who takes three steps to speed 
through the world he is a manifestation of 
the sun in its daily transit - rising, zenith 
and setting: and here a reference is also 
seen to the three worlds - heaven, atmos- 
phere and earth. In Hinduism, Visnu is one 
of the most important gods. Indeed, his 
devotees, the Vishnuites, regard him as the 
supreme god, and he is bound up with the 
concept of — > Narayana. One of his many 
epithets is Purusottama = 'the highest 
god' . He belongs to the — > Trimurti, and his 
main function is to sustain the world. He 
appears in various forms or avataras, to 
combat demons and to restore cosmic 
divine order. The Puranas mention ten 
avataras: as a fish (— > Matsya), as a tor- 
toise (—> Kurma), as a boar (— > Varaha), as 
a man-lion (—> Narasim ha), as a dwarf 
(Vamana), — > Parasu-Rama, — > Rama, — > 
Krisna, — » Buddha and — ¥ Kalki. Later, fur- 
ther avataras are mentioned, as for exam- 
ple, Gajaraja, 'lord of the elephants'. Visnu 
is generally depicted as four-handed, and 
his attributes include club, mussel-shell, 
discus and lotus; he rides on the mythical 
bird — > Garuda. The seven-headed world- 
snake (Ananta) serves him as resting-place. 

200 Visvakarman 

Visvakarman ('the all-creator') In 
India, a figure bound up with concept of 
a supreme god. In the Brahmanas he is 
identified with the creator god — > 
Prajapati. Under Hinduism, the god took 
on the functions of — > Tvastar. 

Visvapani A — > Dhyani-Bodhisattva 
of minor interest, an emanation of — > 
Amoghasiddhi. His symbol is a double 

Vivasvat (Vivasvant, 'he who lights up') 
In Indian mythology, father of the — > 
Asvins, of — ¥ Yama, the god of death, and 
of — > Manu, the progenitor of mankind. 
Vivasvat is an aspect of the sunrise; in the 
Rigveda he is said to bring fire. 

Vodnik (Russian vodyanoi) In 
Slavonic folklore a water-demon, said to 
arise from a drowned unbaptized child. 
The vodnik entices people into the water 
and then drowns them. To placate him, 
sacrifice was made to him - in Poland, for 
example, of a chicken. 

Vohu Manah ('good thought') A 
hypostatization in Iranian religion, form- 
ing part of the — > Amesa Spentas. Vohu 
Manah is, on the one hand, a specific 
trope of — > Ahura Mazda, and, on the 
other hand, created by him. On earth, 
Vohu Manah is represented by the benign 
creatures, especially the cow. In 
Manichaeanism he is known as Wahman: 
he appoints the apostles, and helps in the 
creation of the New Man. 

Voltumna An Etruscan god, originally 
of chthonic nature and subsequently ele- 
vated to the status of supreme god (deus 
Etruriae princeps). For the Etruscans he 
was primarily the tutelary god of the 
Etruscan federation; some scholars believe 
him to be a specialized form of the sky-god 
— > Tin. Voltumna was taken over by the 
Romans under the name of — > Vertumnus. 

Volumna Roman goddess of the 
nursery, who was supposed to look after 
the health and welfare of her charges. 

Vor (or Vara) A Germanic goddess. In 
the late period - e.g. in the work of the 
Icelandic writer Snorri - she appears as 
goddess of contracts, and her name is 
taken to mean 'she who is cautious'. 
Oaths and pledges are sacred to her, and 
she is also the guardian of marriage. 

Votan (Uotan) Originally, it would 
seem, a religious reformer among the 
Maya in Central America, who was sub- 
sequently deified. He was given the epi- 
thet 'heart of towns', and was supposed to 
be the guardian of the slit-drum 
(tepanaguaste). His wife was — > Ixchel. 

Vritra In Indian belief, a demon who 
holds the waters prisoner - hence his 
name, which means 'encloser'. He is the 
fearsome enemy of gods and of men, who 
is finally slain by — > Indra's club. Vritra 
was variously imagined, as a dragon, a 
snake or a cloud. 

Vucub-Caquix ('seven Arara') A 
demon mentioned in Popol Vuh, the sacred 
scriptures of the Quiche-Maya. He imag- 
ined himself to be sun, moon and light, and 
had to be overthrown by the divine broth- 
ers — > Hunapu and Ixbalanque before they 
could start creating the human race. 

Vulcanus (Volcanus) Roman god of 
fire and of the blacksmith's craft, taken 
over from the Etruscans; later, identi- 
fied with the Greek — > Hephaistos. His 
feast, the Volcanalia, was celebrated on 
23 August, at the time of greatest drought, 
and was intended to ward off the danger 
of major conflagrations; and as a further 
mollification of the fire-god fish were 
thrown live into the flames. In the seaport 
town of Ostia, where stores of grain were 
especially at risk from fire, Vulcanus was 
the chief deity. 


Wadd Moon-god and tutelary god of 
the ancient south Arabian states of Ausam 
and Main (fifth to second centuries BC). 
The name means 'love' or 'friendship'. 
The snake was sacred to the god. 

Wakan The name used by the Dakota 
Indians to designate their gods. Everything 
in the world has its wakan or spirit, 
which is neither born nor dies. Chief 
among the wakan beings is the sun, which 
is called wakan tanka kin. Several Sioux 
tribes regarded Wakan Tanka as the 
universal god, under whom four other 
deities (including the sun-god Wi) were 

Wakan Tanka 


Wakonda The creator of all things in 
the belief of the Omaha Indians in North 
America. The word is now used to desig- 
nate an invisible life-force which is 
omnipresent, and which is invoked by 
human beings in need of help. 

Walaganda — » Wondjina 

Waralden Olmai One of the most 
esteemed gods of the Lapps. The name 
comes from the Old Norse veraldar god 
('world god'), an epithet of the Germanic 
god — > Freyr. 

Watauinewa The supreme being in the 
belief of the Yamana who live in Tierra del 
Fuego. He is the primeval progenitor and 
lord of life and death. The god is invoked 
in prayers as 'Our father', but plays no part 
in myth. He is lord and giver of animals. 

Wele The supreme deity of the Bantu 
Kavirondo (Vugusu). He appears in two 
aspects: when he has the epithet 
omuwanga, he is the benign 'white' god; 

with the epithet gumali, he is the 'black' 
god of disaster. 

Wen-chang The Taoist god of litera- 
ture, honoured in many Chinese house- 
holds by having his name-tablet on 
the wall. 

Wer (or Mer) Along with — » Adad, 
another name for the weather-god among 
the Semitic population of ancient 
Mesopotamia. In Mari he was called 


A divine general in Chinese Buddhism. He 
is portrayed as youthful and arrayed in 
the full panoply of war, with helmet and 
sword. He is seen as a protector of the 
teaching (— > Dharmapala) and is also a sort 
of guider of souls from earth to the lowest 

Whiro Among the Maori in New 
Zealand, the god of darkness, of evil and 

202 Whope 

death. He is the adversary of the god of 
light and fertility — > Tane. Whiro is aided 
and abetted by the spirits of illness. 

Whope Among the Sioux Indians, the 
daughter of the sun-god — > Wi, and wife 
of the south wind. She came to earth one 
day and visited the Sioux people, to 
whom she brought the pipe as a symbol of 
peace. But the pipe is also supposed to be 
an intermediary between humans and — > 
Wakan Tanka. 

Wi The sun-god of the Sioux Indians. 
He was supposed to be omniscient, and 
the defender of those who were brave and 
loyal. Among the animals, the bison was 
particularly closely associated with him; 
indeed, it was often regarded as a mani- 
festation of the god himself. His daughter 
was the beautiful — > Whope. 

Wonajo (Wanajo) A culture-hero in 
the form of a snake in the Louisiade 
Archipelago in the Pacific. He lit the first 
fire and scattered its ashes across the 
heavens so that the clouds arose. He gave 
the islanders the pig, the dog and the 

Wondjina Primeval beings in the 
belief of the aboriginals in north-west 
Australia. They are spirits of rain and 
cloud, and are identified also with the 

rainbow snake. Most of them were 
imaged in rock-paintings, while their 
spirit dived into a near-by pool so as to be 
available to man in the form of life-giving 
water. One of the Wondjina, named 
Walaganda ('he who belongs to heaven') 
changed himself into the Milky Way. 

Wosyet ('she who is strong') Ancient 
Egyptian goddess, worshipped in Thebes 
during the Middle Kingdom period as the 
protector of the youthful — > Horus. 

Wunekau A sun-god worshipped by 
various tribes in New Guinea. He is taken 
to be the creator of all things, whose name 
may be uttered only with the most 
extreme reverence. A wind sent by him 
makes women pregnant. The giant snake 
Make is seen as a special manifestation of 
his divine presence. 

Wuru(n)katte Ancient Anatolian 
(Proto-Hattic) god of war, whose epithet 
was 'king of the land'. In the Hittite period 
his role was taken over by —> Zababa, the 
war-god borrowed from the Akkadians. 

Wuru(n)semu The proto-Hattic name 
of the old Anatolian sun-goddess. In 
essentials she corresponds to the goddess 
of — > Arinna. Wurusemu also figures as an 
earth-goddess, in which capacity she is 
the consort of the weather-god — > Taru. 



A god of thunder and of fertility 
venerated in Dahomey. He is represented 
in the form of a ram, with the thunder-axe 
as his attribute. 

Xhindi Invisible spirits, analogous to 
elves, in Albanian folk-belief and folktale. 
Their arrival is signalled by the creaking of 
doors and flickering of lights. Sometimes 
they are kind and helpful, but at other times 
they appear as a sort of oppressive — > Alp. 

Xian The Chinese designation for 
genii, spirits and immortals. The heavenly 
xian, or tianxian, live on the heavenly 
bodies, and surpass all the others in 
might. Especially noteworthy are the 
'Eight Immortals' (—¥ Ba Xian). 

Xiang Yao 

Gong Gong 

Xipe totec ('our lord, the flayed one') 
Ancient Mexican god of spring, who 
causes the seed to germinate in the earth. 
In art, he is often shown wearing a flayed 
human skin. The flaying of humans was a 
cult ritual in pre-Aztec tribes. The Aztecs 
regarded the god's garment as the new 

growth of plants covering the earth. Xipe 
totec was also the tutelary god of the 
craftsmen in gold. 

Xiuhtecutli ('lord of the turquoise') 
Aztec fire-god, also known simply as 'old 
god' (huehue teotl). The turquoise snake 
provides his clothing (nahualli) and in 
manuscripts he is shown with a red or 
yellow face. Sacred to him is the number 
3 - the number of hearth-stones on which 
the baking-plate and the cooking-pot sit. 

Xi-Wang-mu Chinese goddess of 
immortality, and the embodiment of Yin. 
She dwells in the mythical Kun-lun 
mountains in the west of China and is 
known as 'queen mother of the western 
paradise'. Originally, she was thought of 
as a menacing figure with tiger's fangs 
and a leopard's tail, who sent infectious 
diseases. Subsequently, she changed in 
Taoist popular belief into a friendly being 
who watches over the herb of immortality, 
and who regales her chosen ones on the 
peaches of eternal life. She is accompanied 
by the phoenix. 

Xochipilli ('flower-prince') Old 

Mexican god of flowers and games, and, 
in addition, one of the 13 watchmen of the 
hours of the day. The design painted on 
his face resembles a butterfly. In one spe- 
cific form he appears under the name of 
Macuilxochitl ('five - flower'). He holds 
a staff whose point is sunk into a human 
heart (symbol of life). 

Xochiquetzal ('upright flower') Ori- 
ginally this goddess had a lunar character 
as the wife of the Mexican sun-god. In 
the Aztec pantheon, she figured as the 
youthful goddess of love, patron of all 

204 Xocotl 

forms of female handicrafts, and queen of 

Xocotl A god of fire and of the stars, 
originally worshipped by the Otomi and 
subsequently taken over by the Nahua 
peoples, including the Aztecs. In his hon- 
our, the 'great feast of the dead', Xocotl 
vetzi, was celebrated in August. Dead 
warriors were thought of as stars who 
stood in a special relationship to the 
stellar god. 

Xolotl A dog-headed follower of the 
sun. He helps those who have died to 
cross the 'nine-fold stream' and enter the 
underworld (mictlan). His name means 

'twin' and is understood in relation to the 
inverted rising and setting of the sun as 
perceived in the underworld. In Aztec 
myth he figures as the twin brother of — > 

Xrostag and Padvaxtag Two Mani- 
chaean divinities. They are the personifi- 
cations of 'call' and 'answer'. The call is 
uttered from above by the 'living spirit', 
and it is 'answered' from below by the 
man who is to be saved. 

Xucau This is the name given by the 
Ossetians (in the Caucasus) to their 
supreme god, who rules over other 
heavenly spirits (e.g. — > Uacilla). 


Yaksas In India, semi-divine beings of 
a chthonic nature: they live in the 
Himalayas, and, as followers of — ¥ 
Kubera, they watch over hidden treasures. 
Like Kubera, they have stubby limbs and 
pot-bellies. Not all yaksas are malevolent; 
some are benign and these are revered by 
ordinary people as protective spirits and 
bringers of fertility. The benign yaksas 
were taken over by Buddhism and appear 
in art, for example, as supporting figures. 


A mythical king in Indo-Aryan times (he 
figures in the Avesta as — ¥ Yima) who was 
the first man to die, thereby path-finder 
into the realm of the dead and now ruler 
over the dead. He is accompanied by two 
four-eyed spotted dogs. In Hindu mythol- 
ogy, Yama is judge of the dead and prince 

of hell; he is clothed in red garments and 
he has a noose with which he draws the 
soul out of the body. He rides on a black 
buffalo. In Buddhism too, he figures as 
judge of the dead, though here he often 
bears a wheel on his breast as a symbol of 
the Buddhist teaching. In Tantric pictures 
he may appear standing on a bull which is 
copulating with a woman. In Tibet, Yama 
is one of the — > Dharmapalas, and is rep- 
resented with a bull's head, flaming hair 
and a club. In Japan, he is known as 

Yamantaka ('he who puts an end to 
Yama') One of the — > Krodhadevatas in 
Buddhism. In Tibet, he is regarded as a 
protective deity. He is usually dark-blue 
in colour, and is shown standing on a bull 
over the sun and a lotus. In his mandala, 
he is three-faced, six-armed and he is 
trampling on — > Yama, in token of his 
victory over death. He is also known 
as Yamari ('enemy of Yama'). As 
Vajrabhairava ('he who arouses fear') he 
has 34 arms, 16 legs and 9 heads. The 
central head is that of a bull. 

Yan-lo (or Yan Wang) In China the 
dreaded prince of the underworld, god of 
the dead; he corresponds to the Indian- 
Buddhist — > Yama. Yan-lo is clad in the 
robes of an emperor. 

Yao Mythical primeval emperor of the 
Chinese; together with the heavenly 
archer — > Shen Yi he vanquished the 
unruly winds. In Confucianism, he is pre- 
sented as the exemplar of the good ruler. 

Yao-shi-fo The Chinese name means 
'physician Buddha'. He has taken the vow 
to devote himself entirely to the salvation 

206 Yarhibol 

of mankind, and to cure them of mental 
and physical illnesses. 

Yarhibol Ancient Arabian sun-god, 
revered in Palmyra and Dura Europos 
along with the sky-god — > Bel and the 
moon-god — > Aglibol. He was also the 
god of the holy spring at Efka, and may 
have been regarded as an oracle. 

Yazata ('worthy of reverence') In old 
Iranian religion, a designation for 'god', 
along with — > Baga. The Yazatas are partly 
protective spirits, partly personifications 
of abstract concepts like — > Rasun ('right- 
eousness') or — » Daena ('religion'). 

Yehl (Yetl) Creator-god in the form of 
a raven, among the Tlingit Indians in 
north-west Canada. He flew over the 
primeval mists and used his wings to clear 
them away until the dry land appeared. 
According to the myth, he changed him- 
self into a blade of grass and let himself 
be swallowed by a chief's daughter, from 
whom he was then born as the first man. 

Ye'loje (older name, Pugu) The sun 
deity of the Yukagir people in Siberia. 
Ye'loje looks after those who are oppressed, 
and keeps an eye on behaviour and morals. 

Yima Primeval man and primeval king 
in Iranian mythology. He corresponds to 
the Indian — > Yama, and in each case the 
name means something like 'twin'. As a 
king, he represents all three social func- 
tions: he is pious as a priest, strong like 
a warrior, and rich in herds like a husband- 
man. He reigned in the Golden Age, when 
there was no death. Yima was born in a 
pillar of fire as a bolt of lightning from 
heaven. Another version of the myth makes 
him the brother of the sun and the moon. 

Ymir A primeval giant in Germanic 
mythogy, who arose from a poisonous 
mixture of ice and meltwater. He drew his 
nourishment from the milk of the 
primeval cow Audhumla. Ymir was slain 
by the gods — > Odin, — > Vili and Ve, and 
his body was used as raw material for the 
creation of the world. 

Yo A sort of impersonal world-spirit 
in the religious system of the Bambara 
people in West Africa. Yo created the two 
male elements, air and fire, and the two 
female elements, earth and water. Finally 
the world-spirit let something heavy fall on 
to the earth - this was the creator-god — > 

Yu-di ('Jade Emperor'; also known as Yu 
Huang) Supreme lord of heaven in 
Chinese cosmogony. He has nine daughters 
who dwell in the nine different heavens. In 
certain traditions he is said to have formed 
the first men out of clay. Twice a year, the 
earthly Emperor made sacrifice to his heav- 
enly counterpart in the Temple of Heaven 
in Peking. Yu-di's consort was Wang Mu 
niang-niang, a form of — ¥ Xi Wang-mu. 

Yu-huang Shang-di During the Song 
Dynasty, the name given to the supreme 
Taoist god; sometimes abbreviated to — > 

Yu-qiang In Chinese mythology, the 
god of the sea and the ocean winds. As 
sea-god, he has a fish's body, and he rides 
on two dragons; as god of the winds, he 
has the body of a bird and a human face. 

Yum Kaax The Maya god of maize, 
known in specialist literature as god E. He 
corresponds in some ways to the Aztec — > 


Zababa Ancient Mesopotamian town- 
god of Kis; in the early Babylonian period 
he was equated with — > Ningirsu or with 
— > Ninurta. His consort is the warlike — > 
Inanna. He himself is a war-god, and in 
one text he is called 'Marduk of the 



Zagreus In origin, a pre-Hellenic god 
of animals and of hunting; subsequently, 
the chief god in Orphic theology. He is 
said to be the son of — > Zeus and the god- 
dess of the underworld — > Persephone, 
and at the instigation of the jealous — > 
Hera he is torn to pieces by the — ¥ Titans. 
Zeus (in another version of the story — > 
Semele) swallows the still-beating heart, 
thus enabling the infant — > Dionysos (in 
an Orphic equation with Zagreus) to be 

Zalmoxis The supreme god of the 
Thracian Getae and Dacians (Dacia being 
the area known today as Romania). The 
only solid information we have about him 
comes from Herodotus. The ancient 
Greeks interpreted Zalmoxis as the 
founder of a religion, while present-day 
scholars tend to see him rather as an 
earth-god, a sky-god, a ruler of the dead 
or as a figure in divine mysteries. The 
legend tells how Zalmoxis took human 
form and lived among his people and then 
vanished for three years and was mourned 
as dead. In the fourth year, however, he 
came forth again from an underworld cave 
(the realm of the dead). 

Zaltys The ancient Lithuanians 
revered the grass-snake, the zaltys, and it 
played a special part in prophecy. In one 

Lithuanian folksong it is called 'envoy of 
the gods'. The Latvian cognate is zalktis. 

Zam Avestan (Persian) word for 
'earth', which was deified and invoked 
along with the heavens as an object of 
veneration. Zam is one of the — > Yazatas. 

Zana A pre-Roman goddess in the 
Balkans, equated by the Romans with — > 
Diana, although there is no conclusive 
proof of this. She was protected by three 
goats with golden horns. Zana lives on in 
the Albanian mountains as a fairy, revered 
for her courage and her beauty. 

Zao Jun Taoist kitchen-god, whose 
picture hung in virtually every Chinese 
kitchen until well into the present century. 
The image was usually placed in a niche 
over the hearth, and sacrifice in the shape 
of sweets and honey-cakes was made to 
him on a given day. 

Zemepatis ('Lord of the earth') A 
Lithuanian chthonic deity, protector of the 
cattle and of the farm as a whole. He was 
supposed to be the brother of the earth- 
goddess — ¥ Zemyna. 

Zemes mate ('earth-mother') Ancient 
Lettish earth- and mother-goddess. She 
takes an interest in man's welfare, and 
looks after his fields and makes them 
fertile. However, she also plays the part of a 
ruler of the dead, merging here with — > 
Velu mate. When the Baltic lands were con- 
verted to Christianity, she changed gradu- 
ally into the figure of the Virgin Mary. 

Zemyna (Zemynele) Lithuanian earth- 
goddess, the mother of plants. In prayers 
she is given the poetic epithet ziedkele, 
'she who raises flowers'. Sacrifice was 

208 Zenenet 

made to her, as the nourisher of man and 
animals, especially at seed-time and 

Zenenet ('the exalted one') A goddess 
venerated in the ancient Egyptian town 
of Hermonthis. She was regarded as 
the consort of — > Month, and merged with 
— ¥ Rat-taui. 

Zephyros The god of the west wind, in 
Greek myth the son of the stellar god 
Astreios ('the starry one') and of the early 
dawn (— ¥ Eos). As herald of spring, he is 
married to one of the — ¥ Horae; and at the 
behest of — > Eros, he abducts Psyche. He 
was called Favonius by the Romans. 

Zervan (also as Zurvan, Zrvan, = 'time') 
Iranian god of time, the creator of all the 
paths which lead to the Cinvat bridge - 
the crossing-point into the Beyond. In 
Zervanism, which was spread by magi, he 
figured as the supreme god, lord of light 
and darkness. The radiant — ¥ Ahura 
Mazda and the dark — ¥ Ahriman are his 
children. Zervan is the 'four- fold god' 
who comprises in his own being divinity, 
light, power and wisdom. As a god of 
fate he is related to the Greek — » Chronos. 
In Manichaeanism Zervan is also the 
supreme god, 'father of greatness' and 
tetraprosopos - the god with four faces as 
lord of the four elements. 

Zeus Supreme god of the Greeks, the 
son of — ¥ Kronos and of — ¥ Rheia. His 
name comes from the Indo-Germanic 
root dei ('to shine') and is cognate with 
the names of other sky-gods (— ¥ Dyaus, 
Diu-pater — ¥ Jupiter). The myth of the 
divine child - reared by the goat — ¥ 
Amaltheia or by the bee Melissa, and 
hidden from Kronos by the armed 
dancers, the — ¥ Kuretes - goes back to 
Cretan/Mycenaean times. The grown 
Zeus hurls his father and the other Titans 
into Tartaros, and shares world-mastery 

thereafter with his brothers — ¥ Poseidon 
and — ¥ Hades. With his wife — ¥ Hera he 
sits enthroned in Olympus. He has many 
liaisons with mortal females, and on these 
occasions he appears in various guises - 
as a golden rain (with Danae), as a bull 
(with Europa), as a swan (with Leda). 
Along with his functions as sky-god, Zeus 
also figures as god of weather, in which 
capacity his epithet is keraunos ('light- 
ning'). As katachthonios ('the subter- 
ranean one') he is associated with the 
underworld, and as meilichios ('the gentle 
one') he appears as a judge. As guardian 
of freedom, eleutherios, he has pan- 
Hellenic significance. His symbolical 
creature is the eagle. It was believed that 
his voice could be heard in the rustling of 
the oak-tree (the oracle at Dodona). 

Zhang Guo-lao One of the 'Eight 
Immortals' (—¥ Ba Xian). He is supposed 
to have been really a bat which turned 
itself into a man. He rides on a white ass, 
and his attribute is a bamboo drum with 
two sticks. 

Zhong-Kui The Chinese god of litera- 
ture and of examinations; also, a protector 
against evil spirits and demons. He really 
belongs himself to the class of demonic 

Zu 209 

beings (— » Gui Xian) as he committed 
suicide when the authorities refused to 
give him the first place in the examination 
results which he merited. His portrait is 
hung up at the end of the year to drive off 
demons. His attribute is a sword with 
which he fends off the five poisonous 
creatures - the snake, the centipede, the 
scorpion, the lizard and the toad. 

Zhong-li Quan One of the 'Eight 
Immortals'. He is recognizable by the fan 
with which he revives the dead. 

Zhu Dian (Tian) Chinese designation 
for the Buddhist gods which originally 
came from India, as e.g. Gong De Tian or 
He-li Di (-> Hariti). 

Zibelthiurdos — > Shurdi 

Zipakna and Kabrakan Earthquake- 
gods of the Maya. The former was the 
'creator of mountains', the latter the 
'destroyer of mountains'. 

Zocho One of the 'heavenly kings' of 
Shintoism, who protect the world from 
the evil demons. Zocho is the guardian of 
the south. 

Zotz Bat-god of the Maya, and still 
today tutelary god of the Zotzil Indians 
who live in Chiapas, as well as of certain 
Guatemaltecan tribes. 

Zu (or Anzu) A demonic storm-bird in 
Akkadian (Babylonian) mythology. He 
steals the tablets of fate in order to place 
himself at the head of the gods, but is 
himself vanquished by — > Ningirsu (or — > 

Appendix I 

Functions, aspects, spheres 
of competence 

.griculture, gods of (see also Grain, 


gods of) 


Ah Bolom Tzacab 

Angels, see Messengers, 



Ao — > Jw 


Animals, protective deities of 














Geus Tasan 


Geus Urvan 











S animus 


Saturnus Africanus 










Xipe totec 



.ncestral gods 


(see also Progenitors) 


















Appendix I 211 

Astral deities (see also Moon deities, 


Morning Star deities, Sun deities) 





Mater Matiita 


















Teteo innan 










Blacksmiths and forging, 

gods of 











Shou Lao 














Creator deities 
Ai Tojon 

Birth and protection of children, deities of 










Guan Yin 














212 Appendix I 







Fidi Mukullu 



Hunab Ku 


Isten (2) 



Ka Tyeleo 












Mula Djadi 




Orisa Nla 
















Vili and Ve 

Culture heroes, bringers of culture 


Dawning, deities of 

Mater Manita 

Dead, death, deities of 

Asto Vidatu 



Appendix I 213 








Azi Dahaka 











































Velu mate 




Zemes mate 


sath and underworld, demons of 


Asto Vidatu 






















smons and spirits embodying evil 


{see also Enemies of gods, 


Sickness, demons of) 


Aesma Daeva 




214 Appendix I 











Lii Dong-bin 








Earth deities 


























Devils, infernal beings (see also 


Enemies of gods) 







Jian Lao 

Asto Vidatu 























Semnai Theai 



Gong Gong 









Teteo innan 

Appendix I 215 







Zemes mate 

Nanna ( 1 ) 



lemies of the gods (see also Devils) 















Fertility, deities of 






























ite, deities and spirits of 



Ceres Africana 

























216 Appendix I 







Mars, Gallic 



























Fertility demons 

Fire, deities of 





















Fortune, gifts, deities of 
Fu Shen 


Gong De Tian 

Ghosts and spirits of the dead 
Gui Xian 

Appendix I 217 




Baba (1) 



Good spirits and demons 
Agathos Daimon 








Bukura e dheut 







Majas gars 








Jtiras mate 




Grain and maize, deities of 























Home and hearth, deities of 



Handicrafts, gods of 







Nang Lha 












Zao Jun 

Healing, deities of 

Hunting, deities of 







218 Appendix I 





Meza mate 








Justice and law, deities of 

Immortality, givers of 




Gou Mang 










Mu Gong 








Judgment, deities of (see also Justice 
and law) 



Kings and rulers, deities of kingship, 


divine (see also State and nation, 

Gao Yao 

deities of) 













Karuiles siunes 













Mac Greine 











Appendix I 219 




Light, deities of (see also Sun deities) 
Ahura Mazda 

Lightning, deities of (see also Weather 

Local gods, town gods 
Baba (1) 






















Love, deities of 
Nana] a 

220 Appendix I 

Magic, demons and spirits of 



Gou Mang 





















Man-eating gods; vampires 
















Moon deities 



















Marriage, deities of 



Heng E 














Jiino Caelestis 





Messengers, divine; Angelic beings 


Amesa Spentas 






Appendix I 221 












Mari (1) 

Nanna ( 1 ) 











Zemes mate 





Sin (1) 

Sin (2) 








Mountain deities 


Baal Sapon 









Morning/Evening Star deities 







Mater Matuta 



Music, literature, dance, 

deities of 

Mother goddesses; Great Mother 













Guan Di 













222 Appendix I 






Kuk and Kauket 





















Nourishment, food deities of (see also 
Grain, deities of) 
Chicome coatl 

Nature demons and spirits 



Yum Kaax 


Oaths, pledges and contracts, deities of 












Karuiles shines 






Seri and Hurri 







Mikal — > Michael 











Oracles, deities of 





Night deities; dark aspect of the world 






Appendix I 223 



















Peace, deities of 

Preas Prohm 








Progenitors of human race 


Adam Kadmon 



Plants, deities of (see also Tree and 


forest deities, Grain, deities of, 


Vegetation deities) 





Martanda — > Adityas 



Han Xiang-zi 






Maia (2) 



Protective deities; guardians 













Primeval deities (see also Creator deities) 










Ansar and Kisar 













He Xian-gu 

224 Appendix I 








Rain deities 







Juno Caelestis 

Ah Bolom Tzacab 



Lama (2) 







Mari (1) 



Men Shcn 




Meza mate 













Sodza — * So 









Revenge, deities of 








Protective spirits and demons 







Riches and prosperity, deities of (see 


also Fortune, gifts, deities of) 






Bab (1) 


Cai Shen 




Daikoku (— ¥ Shichi-Fukujin) 

Lama (1) 

Dis Pater 





Appendix I 225 













River deities 
Hapi (2) 
He Bo 

Saviours and redeemers 
Adam Kasia 

Guan Yin 
Manda d-Hiia 
Mi-lo Fo 
Pistis Sophia 


Sea deities 






Leukothea — > Ino 























Sickness, deities of 
Dala Kadavara 

Lature Dano 
Mari (1) 

Sickness, demons of 

226 Appendix I 











Sky deities 


Bel (2) 



Orisa Nla 


Satiirnus Africanus 
















Souls, guides of 

Spirits (see also Demons and spirits 
embodying evil, Good spirits and 
demons, Nature demons and spirits, 
Protective spirits and demons) 
Baba (2) 

Appendix I 227 







Sun deities 















Spring deities 
Maia (2) 
Xipe totec 

Star gods, see Astral deities 









State and nation, deities of 























Kinich Kakmo 


Khyung-gai mGo-can 




















Mog Ruith 



Sin (2) 






228 Appendix I 












Hunab Ku 













Sol (2) 

Ka Tyeleo 







































Supreme gods, supreme beings (see also 
State and nation, deities of) 











Thunder, deities of (see also Weather, 


deities of) 


Ah Bolom Tzacab 





Appendix I 229 












Tree and forest deities 




















Meza mate 

Time and eternity, 

deities of 









Underworld, gods of 



Saturnus Africanus 









Town gods, see Local gods 



Trade, commerce, 

travel, deities of 

Dis Pater 



Guan Di 




















Treasure, demonic 

guardians of 

Karuiles siunes 


Lature Dano 



230 Appendix I 




















Vegetation deities (see also Plants, 
deities of) 



Victory, deities of 


War, deities of (see also 
Apam napat 

Bellona (2) 
Guan Di 


Mars, Gallic 

Appendix I 231 












Jtiras mate 





















Teteo innan 





Water demons and spirits 






Vestius Alonieus 

Harun, Haruna 



Watchmen, demonic 
















Water deities (see also Rain, River, Sea, 

Weather deities (see also Lightning, 


Rain, Thunder, deities) 



Apam napat 














232 Appendix I 


Wine and drinking, deities of 























Wisdom, enlightenment, knowledge, 

writing, deities of 


Wind and storm, deities of 











Fudo Myoo 






Hermes Trismegistos 

Fei Lian 




























Veja mate 








Appendix II 
Symbols, attributes, motifs 


Antelope horns 















I dun 



Ark of the Covenant 










Animal ears 








Animal sacrifice 


(see also Bull sacrifice) 





Men Shen 


















234 Appendix II 


Zhang Guo-lao 

Ass's foot 


Axe, double 

Baboon see Monkey 




Banana leaf 


Li Tie-guai 
Zhang Guo-lao 

Dieva deli 

Battle axe 











Bird (see also Eagle, Falcon, Heron, 
Phoenix, Raven) 

Kinich Kakmo 
Khyung-gai mGo-can 
Mog Ruith 




Appendix II 235 






Lature Dano 





Blacksmith see Appendix I: Blacksmiths, 
gods of 












Book, scroll 


Bow (see also Arrow) 


Bowl, alms- 






236 Appendix II 



























Seri and Hurri 







Bull head 




Bull horns 

Lama (1) 

Bull sacrifice 


Butter, churning 



Caduceus see Snakes, staff of 




Cap, magic (conferring invisibility) 








Appendix II 237 

Cattle (see also Cow, Bull) 
Aesma Daeva 
Geus Urvan 
Vohu Manah 



Aruna (2) 
Mari (2) 


Sol (1 and 2) 


Adam Kadmon 











Mars, Gallic 










Mercurius, Gallic 

Cock head 




Coins (see also Purse) 


Coping stone 

Corn see Maize 


238 Appendix II 












Cow (see also Cattle) 


Cow horns 



Shou Lao 



Crocodile head 

Crooked staff 



Sam vara 


Crown, of horns 













Darkness (see also Appendix I: Night 

Appendix II 239 

Lature Dano 







Deer head 
Fei Lian 






Disc (see also Sun) 


















Dog head 


Men Shen 


Gong Gong 
Gou Mang 


240 Appendix II 
















Zhang Guo-lao 






Gou Mang 




Mu Gong 













Eagle (see also Eagle, double) 



Bel (2) 






Isten (2) 



Sun Hou-zi 










Dala kadavara 





Eagle, double 


Ai Tojon 

Preas Eyn 




Eagle, lion-headed 




Ear of corn 





Jian Lao 




Appendix II 241 








Mog Ruith 














Falcon cloak 

Falcon head 



Zhong-li Quan 


Feather boa, Feather-snake 







Saturnus Africanus 

Fire, Flame {see also Appendix I: 
Fire deities) 

Ahura Mazda 
Amesa Spentas 

242 Appendix II 





















Chasca Coyllur 
Gratiae, Graces 
Han Xiang-zi 
Lan Cai-he 


Han Xiang-zi 
Lan Cai-he 

Veja mate 




Preas Prohm 




Fruit (see also Apple, Pomegranate, 

Garland (see also Laurel) 


Gazelle's head 

Appendix II 243 



Goat (female) 

Goat (male) 




Gold rain 
Zeus see Perseus 




Grain (see also Ear of corn); see 
Appendix I; Grain and maize deities 

Grass, blade of 

Grass snake 





Hair sacrifice 









Hand, birth from 


244 Appendix II 



Head birth from 




Sihai — > Sirao 


Zao Jun 




Herald's staff 




Horn (see also Bull horns) 


Apam Napat 










Isten (2) 






Appendix II 245 











Horse head 




















Human sacrifice 

Judge see Appendix I: Judgment deities 








He Bo 

Kerykeion see Herald's staff 











Humming bird 





Hunt, hunters see Appendix I: 


Hunting deities 














He Xian-gu 









246 Appendix II 






Preas Eyn 








Lightning flashes, cluster of 

Lapis lazuli 









Bel (2) 


Laurel wreath 













Preas Eyssaur 

Fidi Mukullu 























Light (see also Appendix I: 


Light deities) 


Ami da 










Saturnus Africanus 

Lightning (see also Appendix I: 


Lightning deities) 






Appendix II 247 

Lion head 

Lion skin 





























Chicome coatl 

Maize meal 






Mermaid, merman 

Metals (see also Gold) 
Amesa Spentas 



Milk ocean 


248 Appendix II 

Milk sacrifice 

Lature Dano 







Silewe Nazarata 

Milky Way 




Moon, sickle 

















Morning and Evening Star see 

Mistletoe bough 

Appendix I: Morning/Evening 


Star deities 


Mountain (see also Appendix I: 


Mountain deities) 






Huang Fei-hu 

Mi-lo Fo 


Mercurius, Gallic 



Mountain ash 

Hapi (1) 









Sun Hou-zi 




Moon (see also Appendix I: Moon 

Sipe gyalmo 

Ahura Mazda 

Musical instruments (see also 


Flute, Harp, Lyre) 











Appendix II 249 













Mussel-shell vehicle 

Myrrh tree 






Asto Vidatu 


















Ostrich feathers 


Owl's head 





Palm-leaf, frond 



250 Appendix II 



He Xian-gu 
Shou Lao 
Sun Hou-zi 



Phallus (see also Lingam) 
Isten (2) 

Mutunus Tutunus 












Nang Lha 








Mac Greine 

Pole Star 


Pomegranate blossom 


Potter's wheel 


Appendix II 251 


Mercurius, Gallic 
Mi-lo Fo 

Rain see Appendix I: Rain deities 


Mari (2) 

Rainbow snake 


Gao Yao 
Mari (2) 

Mercurius, Gallic 

Ram horns 




Chicome coatl 









Astabhuj a-Kurukulla 



Lature Dano 








Rhinoceros bird 



River see Appendix I: River deities 

252 Appendix II 




Mi-lo Fo 


Saules meitis 









Sexual organs (see also Phallus, Womb) 



Ship, boat 






Mari (2) 


Saturnus Africanus 










Smith, see Blacksmiths, gods of in 
Appendix I 

Appendix II 253 


Agathos Daimon 

Azi Dahaka 


Lature Dano 




Midgard- snake 

































Snake hair 

Snake legs 

254 Appendix II 

Snake-staff (caduceus) 
Mercurius, Gallic 













Spinning and weaving 

Spittle, spitting 

He Xian-gu 

Spring see Appendix I: Spring deities 

Springs and wells 


Staff (see also Herald's staff, 
Crooked staff, Snake-staff) 


As (Aesir) 

Star (see also Appendix I: 
Astral deities) 


Stone (see also Rock) 

Appendix II 255 

Empung Luminuut 



du-1 Halasa 




Preas Eyssaur 


Stones, heap of 





Sun {see also Appendix I: Sun deities) 
Ahura Mazda 

Astabhuj a-Kurukulla 


Sun-disc {see also Winged sun) 


Sun, eye of 


Mula Djadi 


Sipe Gyalmo 



Lii Dong-bin 


256 Appendix II 


Sipe Gyalmo 












Three-headed, three-faced 





Thunder (see also Appendix I: 
Thunder deities) 

Thunderbolt (see also Vajra) 

Thyrsos staff 

Cai Shen 

Tiger- skin 

Heng E 




Cautes and Cautopates 

Appendix II 257 










Mercurius, Gallic 

Tree (see also Appendix I: 
Tree deities) 
Isten (2) 



Tree, birth from 



Sipe Gyalmo 

Triple staff 


Turquoise snake 

Two-headed, two-faced 




Vajra (see also Thunderbolt) 

Vessel (see also Bowl, Water-pot) 




Water (see also Appendix I: 
Water demons, Water deities) 

258 Appendix II 









Water-pot (see also Jug) 





















Wind, storm (see also Appendix I: Wind 








Empung Luminuut 







Ru Shou (— > Gou Mang) 










Sun Hou-zi 











Mog Ruith 










Whip, scourge 






Appendix II 259 











Winged shoes 

Winged sun 
Ahura Mazda 














Zodiac, Signs of 


In addition to general works on comparative 
religion and the history of religion, such as 
Christel Matthias Schroder's Die Religionen der 
Menschheit (Stuttgart, 1960), and mythologi- 
cal reference books such as Hans-Wilhelm 
Haussig's Worterbuch der Mythologie (Stuttgart, 
1961), monographs on the individual deities 
and demons are useful works to consult. 
Encyclopedias and other works in which the 
material is arranged by religion, tribe or country 
are also valuable sources of information, as are 
works which attempt to give a general overview 
of the complexities of the individual divinities. 
This bibliography concentrates on works which 
fall within these categories. 

Albrektson, B., History and the Gods. An 

Essay on the Idea of Historical Events as 

Divine Manifestions in the Ancient Near 

East and in Israel, Lund, 1967. 
Altheim, E, Griechische Gotter im alten Rom., 

GieBen, 1930. 
Anders, E, Das Pantheon der Maya, Graz, 

Barnett, L.D., Hindu Gods and Heroes, 

London, 1923. 
Barthell, E.E., Gods and Goddesses of Ancient 

Greece, 1971. 
Baumann, H., 'Afrikanische Wild-und 

Buschgeister' (Zeitschrift fur Ethnologie 

Benoit, E, Art et dieux de la Gaule, Paris, 1 969. 
Biezais, H., Die Hauptgottinnen der alten 

Letten (Diss.), Uppsala, 1955. 
Biezais, H., Die Gottesgestalt der lettischen 

Volksreligion, Uppsala, 1961. 
Bonins, W.E, Die Gotter Schwarzafrikas, Graz, 

Bonnard, A., Les dieux de la Grece, Lausanne, 

1944, 2nd edn, Paris, 1970. 
Bottcher, H.M., Gott hat viele Namen. Eine 

Kulturgeschichte der Gottesvorstellungen, 

Miinchen, 1962. 
Bottero, J., 'Les divinites semitiques en 

Mesopotamie ancienne' (Studi Semitici 1), 

Rome, 1958. 

von Brandenstein, C.G., 'Hethitische 

Gotter nach Bildbeschreibungen in 

Keilschrifttexten' (Mitteilungen der 

Vorderasiatischen Gesellschaft XLVI, 

Bruckner, A., 'Osteuropaische Gotternamen, 

Ein Beitrag zur vergleichenden Mythologie' 

(Zeitschrift fur vgl. Sprachforschung 

van Buren, E.D., 'Symbols of the Gods in 

Mesopotamian Art' (Analecta Orientalia 

Burland, C.A., The Gods of Mexico, London, 

Campbell, X, The Masks of God, Primitive 

Mythology, New York, 1959. 
Campbell, R.C., The Devils and Evil Spirits of 

Babylonia, 1903, 1904. 
Canaan, T., Damonenglaube im Lande der 

Bibel, Leipzig, 1929. 
Christensen, A., Essai sur la demonologie 

iranienne, Copenhagen, 1941. 
Cordan, W., Gotter und Gottertiere der Maya. 

Resultate des MeridaSy stems , Bern/ 

Munich, 1963. 
Dahood, M.J., 'Ancient Semitic Deities in Syria 

and Palestine' (Studi Semitici 1), Rome, 1958. 
Daumas, Fr., Les dieux de VEgypte, 2nd edn, 

Deimel, A., Pantheon Babylonicum, Rome, 

Derolez, R.L.M., Gotter und Mythen der 

Germanen, Einsiedeln, 1963. 
Dumezil, G., Mythes et dieux des Germains, 

Paris, 1939. 
Dumezil, G., Les dieux des Indo-Europeens , 

Paris, 1952. 
Duval, P.M., Les dieux de la Gaule, Paris, 1937. 
Edzard, D.O., Pantheon und Kult in Mari, 

Liege, 1967. 
Ehrenreich, P., 'Gotter und Heilbringer' 

(Zeitschrift fur Ethnologie 38/1906). 
Eichler, PA., Die Dschinn, Teufel und Engel im 

Koran, Leipzig, 1928. 
Eickmann, W., Die Angelologie und 

Damonologie des Korans in Vergleich zu 

Bibliography 261 

der Engel- und Geisterlehre der HI. Schrift, 

Leipzig, 1908. 
Elmore, W.Th., Dravidian Gods in Modern 

Hinduism, Madras, 1925. 
Falkenstein, A. van Dijk X, Sumerische 

Gotterlieder, Heidelberg, 1959-60. 
Frank, C, 'Lamastu, Pazuzu und andere 

Damonen' (Mitteihmgen der Altorientalis- 

chen Gesellschaft, 1941). 
Frank, K., Bilder und Symbole babylonisch- 

assyrischer Gotter, Leipzig, 1906, 

Nachdruck, 1968. 
Franz, L., 'Die Muttergottin im Vorderen Orient 

und in Europa' (Der alte Orient 35, 3), 1937. 
Getty, A., The Gods of Northern Buddhism, 

3rd edn, Tokyo, 1962. 
Gutenbrunner, S., Die germanischen 

Gotternamen der antiken Inschriften, Halle 

a. d. Saale, 1936. 
Giiterbock, H.G, 'Hethitische Gotterdarstel- 

lungen and Gotternamen' (Tiirk Tarih 

Kurumu Belleten 7/Ankara, 1943). 
Guthrie, W.K.C., The Greeks and their Gods, 

London, 1950. 
Hass, V, Hethitische Berggotter und hurritische 

Steinddmonen. Riten, Kulte und Mythen, 

Mainz, 1982. 
Hatt, J.-J., 'Les dieux gaulois en Alsace' (Revue 

Archeologique de I'Est et du Centre 

Hendricks, R.A., Classical Gods and Heroes. 

Myths as told by the Ancient Authors, 

New York, 1972. 
Hentze C./Kim C, 'Gottergestalten in der 

alteren chinesischen Schrift' (Studien zur 

fruhchinesischen Kulturgeschichte, Bd. II), 

Herbig, R., Gotter und Damonen der Etrusker, 

Heidelberg, 1948. 
Herskowitz, M.J., African Gods and Catholic 

Saints in New World Negro Belief 

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finnisch-ugrischen Volker' (Memoires de la 

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James, E.O., The Concept of Deity, London, 


Jamme, A., he pantheon sud-arabe preis- 

lamique d'apres les sources epigraphique, 

Louvain, 1947. 
Jokel, R., Gotter und Damonen, Mythen der 

Volker, Darmstadt, 1953. 
Jung, E., Germanische Gotter und Helden in 

christlicher Zeit, Munich/Berlin, 1939. 
Kampel, H., Die Damonen imAlten Testament, 

Augsburg, 1930. 
Kees, H., Der Gotterglaube im Alien Agypten, 

3rd edn, Berlin, 1977. 
Keilhauer, A. und R, Die Bildsprache des 

Hinduismus. Die indische Gotterwelt und 

ihre Symbolik, Cologne, 1983. 
Kirfel, W., Die dreikopfige Gottheit. 

Archaologisch-ethnologischer Streifzug 

durch die Ikonographie der Religionen, 

Bonn, 1948. 
Kirfel, W., Symbolik des Buddhismus (Chapter 

VI: Die Gottheiten des Mahayana), 

Stuttgart, 1959. 
St. Langdon, 'Babylonian and Hebrew 

Demonology' (Journal of the Royal Asiatic 

Society, 1934). 
Langton, E., Essentials of Demonology, 

London, 1949. 
Laroche, E., Recherches sur les noms des dieux 

hittites, Paris, 1947. 
von der Leyen, E, Die Gotter der Germanen, 

Munich, 1938. 
Lurker, M., Gotter und Symbole der alten 

Agypter, 3rd edn, Munich, 1977 (English 

edn., London, 1980). 
Mode, H., Fabeltiere und Damonen, Die 

phantastische Welt der Mischwesen, Leipzig, 

1973 (English edn, London, 1976). 
Morretta, A., Gli Dei dell 'India, Rome, 1966. 
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und Wirkung eines Urphdnomens, Bremen, 

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Mythologie, Stuttgart, 1976 (alphabetische 

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Neumann, E., Die Grofie Mutter, Eine 

Phdnomenologie der weiblichen 

Gestaltungen des Unbewufien, 2nd edn, 

Often, 1974. 
Nevermann, H., Gotter der Siidsee. Die 

Religion der Polynesier, Stuttgart, 1947. 
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262 Bibliography 

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Oesterley, W., Persian Angelology and 

Demonolog)', London, 1936. 
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GieBen, 1932. 
Otto, R., Die Gotter Griechenlands. Das 

Bild des Gottlichen im Spiegel des griechis- 

chen Geistes, 4th edn., Frankfurt a. M., 

Patai, R., The Hebrew Goddess, New York, 

Paulson, T., 'Welt- und Himmelsgottheiten der 

nordasiatischen Volker' (Ethnos 27/1962). 
Percheron, M., Dieux et demons, lames et 

sorciers de la Mongolie, Paris, 1953. 
Peterich, E., Gottinnen im Spiegel der Kunst, 

Olten/Freiburg, 1954. 
Petersdorf, E., Damonologie, 2 vols, Munich, 

1956, 1957. 
Pettazoni R., 'Allwissende hochste Wesen bei 

primitiven Volkern' (Archiv fiir Religions- 

wissenschaft, XXLX/1931). 
Pfiffig, A.J., Religio Etrusca (Vol. Ill: Das 

Pantheon der Etrusker), Graz, 1975. 
Philippson, E.A., 'Die Genealogie der Gotter 

in germanischer Religion, Mythologie und 

Theologie' (Illinois Studies in Language and 

Literature 37,3), Urbana, 111., 1953. 
Philippson, P., Die griechischen Gottheiten in 

ihren Landschaften, Oslo, 1939. 
de Plancy, C. /Simon, J.A., Dictionary of 

Demonolog)', London, 1965. 
Racz, I. (ed.), Der unbekannte Gott, Zurich, 

Radin, P., Gott und Welt in der primitiven Welt, 

Zurich, 1951. 
Radke, G., Die Gotter Altitaliens, 2nd edn, 

Minister, 1979. 
Rahmann, R., 'Gottheiten der Primitivstamme 

im nordostlichen Vorderindien' (Anthropos, 

Robbins, R.H., The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft 

and Demonolog)>, New York, 1959. 
Roberts, J.J.M., The Earliest Semitic Pantheon, 

Baltimore/London, 1972. 
Rosenberg, A., Engel und Ddmonen, Munich, 

Sahai, Bh., Iconography of Minor Hindu and 

Buddhist Deities, New Delhi, 1975. 

Schaub-Koch, E., 'La demonologie de Tart 

etrusque' (Revue de I'Universite Laval 

Schmidt, W., Der Ursprung der Gottesidee, 

12 vols, Munster, 1912-1955. 
Schneider, H., Die Gotter der Germanen, 

Tubingen, 1938. 
Schrade, H., Der verborgene Gott. Gottesbild 

und Gottesvorstelhing in Israel und im alten 

Orient, Stuttgart, 1949. 
Sechan, L./Leveque, P., Les grandes divinites 

de la Grece, Paris, 1966. 
Severyns, A., Les dieux d'Homere, Paris, 

Shih, X, 'The Notion of God in the Ancient 

Chinese Religion' (Numen 16/1969). 
Sierksma, E, De mens en zijn goden, 

Amsterdam, 1959; German Gotter, Gotzen 

und Ddmonen, Wien, n.d. 
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Aggression in Religious Acculturation, The 

Hague, 1966. 
Simpson, M., Gods and Heroes of the Greeks, 

Amherst, 1976. 
Sjostedt, M.L., Dieux et heros des Celtes 

(Mythes et religions Bd. 7), Paris, 1940. 
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Aufl. London, 1961. 
Soustelle, J., 'Erd- und Himmelsgotter der 

altmexikanischen Zeit' (Antaios X/1969). 
Soustelle, J., L'univers des Azteques, Paris, 

Spranz, B., Gottergestalten in den mexikanis- 

chen Bilderhandschriften, Wiesbaden, 1964. 
Stadelmann, R., Syrisch-paldstinensische 

Gottheiten in Agypten, Leiden, 1967. 
Tallqvist, K., 'Akkadische Gotterepitheta' 

(Studio Orientalia), Helsinki, 1938. 
Thalbitzer, W., 'Die kultischen Gottheiten der 

Eskimos' (Archiv fur Religionswissenschaft, 

Thevenot, E., Divinites et sanctuaires de la 

Gaule, Paris, 1968. 
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diable et de la demonologie, Verviers, 1968. 
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London, 1976. 
Tritton, A.S., 'Spirits and Demons in 

Arabia' (Journal of the Royal Asiatic 

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